Over the last week or so, I have spoken to many of our members about the heightened level of attention our industry has received as a result of the royal commission and the recent Productivity Commission.
The first round of royal commission hearings focused on consumer lending, and as we could expect for the preferred channel of choice for Australians, there was a clear focus on the mortgage broking industry.
The commission heard from witnesses on asset finance, credit cards, add-on insurance products, credit offers and account administration.
We understand and accept that it is the royal commission’s duty to inquire into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, and into instances where customer outcomes fell below community expectations.
The terms of reference state that Commissioner Kenneth Hayne will issue a draft report by 30 September 2018, with delivery of a final report by 1 February 2019. Once the report is finalised, this will be presented to the government for consideration.
It is my experience that the vast majority of mortgage brokers in Australia operate with integrity and trust to get the best outcomes for their clients.
I’m sure our members will agree, whether it be initiated via the Combined Industry Forum or through the royal commission, that the extent to which change results in continued higher standards and limits the ability of individuals who should not be in our industry — those who do not place their customers’ interests first — is wholeheartedly welcome.
Mortgage brokers help guide people through what is considered the most important financial decision many people will make for themselves and their family.
Ensuring a good outcome for their customers — the right product and lender, educating consumers to improve their understanding of home loans and their financial literacy, and helping navigate the complexity of the home lending process — this is what I know our members do, day in, day out.
Our position at PLAN Australia is one of advocacy and education. This is a period of change and we want to work proactively with the government and regulators.
As an aggregator, we will continue to work with our lender partners, industry bodies and the Combined Industry Forum. The forum — an industry coming together — has already outlined a significant agenda of change which we just need to get on with. I ask for our memberships’ support with this.
As difficult as it may be, I would encourage our members not to be distracted throughout this process, and to continue with the great work they do in supporting their clients. It is through these relationships, with openness and transparency at each step of the way, that we will rebuild trust in our industry.