A Western Australian-based mortgage broker is running for a seat in the upcoming federal election, in a bid to advocate for the industry from within Parliament.
Sarcha Sagisaka, mortgage broker at Success Finance Solutions, has thrown her hat in the race for the federal electorate of Burt in south-east of Perth.
Ms Sagisaka is running on the Western Australia Party’s ticket – a minor party formed in 2016 to broker better deals for WA residents on a federal level.
The candidate told The Adviser that she was inspired to take political action after commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s recommended changes to the broking model in the final report of the banking royal commission.
After being underwhelmed by the remuneration policy positions of the two major parties, Ms Sagisaka took it upon herself to advocate for the broking industry on a political level.
“Being a mortgage broker, I was very interested in what the various parties in my area had to say,” she said.
“I went and saw [Labor leader] Bill Shorten, I contacted the Liberal Party, and I had also been following the Western Australia Party on Facebook for a while, and I liked their policies, so I had to contact them to find out what their policy on mortgage brokers was.”
She continued: “The woman who convened the party, Julie Matheson, wanted to meet with an industry body, so I got her in touch with a [Finance Brokers Association of Australia] contact in WA, and being interested and a bit nosey, I asked if I could tag along to that meeting.
“At that meeting, I heard more about her party. I was really impressed.
“It turned out she needed a candidate in the seat of Burt. She asked if I knew anybody because the deadline was looming. So, at the last minute, I put my hand up.”
Ms Sagisaka was critical of the major parties’ policy approach, which she said would undermine the broker proposition but noted the Western Australia Party’s position on broker remuneration.
“The position of our party is that mortgage broker remuneration really needs to be left alone,” she said.
“The Liberal position puts another three years of uncertainty into the industry, which it really doesn't need, while Labor position is based on incorrect facts and isn’t really a workable option either.”
The WA broker added that Labor’s proposal to ban trailing commissions and introduce a fixed upfront fee capped at 1.1 per cent would take the industry “back in time”.
“Labor’s proposition of going back to an upfront [lump sum], we had that payment structure many years ago and that was superseded by the current one because it wasn’t workable,” she said.
“Mortgage brokers were getting all their money upfront, and it was a big cash flow burden on the banks.
“What the deferred payment did, which is the trail, basically acts like a control mechanism and aligns the broker with the customer’s interests.”
She added: “We feel that Labor’s policy is going back in time a little bit.”
Ms Sagisaka also lamented the limited voice of mortgage brokers throughout the royal commission’s inquiry, which she said skewed the final determination.
“Mortgage brokers were not given a voice during the royal commission,” she said. “We weren’t called to testify, so commissioner Hayne gathered his information on mortgage brokers based on speaking to the CEOs of the big banks.”
“We don’t really feel that it was warranted.”
The Burt candidate said she plans on using the limited time she has before voters take to the polls to correct misconceptions about the broking industry and garner the support of the electorate for her broader policy platform, which also includes opposition to Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing.
“What I’m trying to do is leverage what I have,” she said. “One of the best things I’m finding is social media, so I’m doing a lot of work on Facebook because it’s a great way to contact the electorate and answer their questions.”
Ms Sagisaka has also reached out to broking industry associations and aggregators, including the FBAA, the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia and Connective.
“I’m going to continue talking to as many people as I can,” she added.
In the meantime, the election candidate has also continued her work as a mortgage broker.
“I’m still doing my work as a broker; I’m just replacing some of my sleeping hours,” she said.
“They’ll be three years between now and the next election, so that will give me a lot more time in between to contact the electorate and build a bit of a more solid campaign for next time round.
“If I get into a situation where I am in Parliament, then I might have to cut back on the broking a little bit and come up with something that works.”
Ms Sagisaka concluded by encouraging brokers to continue informing their clients about the broker proposition, stating that brokers have unfairly become “victims of their own success”.
“We’ve been plodding along with our little businesses, doing our thing and doing great work for the community,” she said.
“Without a whole lot of fuss, we’ve managed to make up nearly 60 per cent of mortgages that are written, so we’ve become a force to be reckoned with.”
Ms Sagisaka concluded: “Brokers need to be a bit more confident in explaining to clients how our system works and why it isn’t money for nothing and that it’s a really good system.”