Aggregator independence may not be a big factor for brokers, who seem staunch in their own independence regardless of the ownership behind their broker group.
While 45% of respondents in the latest Australian Broker poll said independence was a factor in their choice of aggregator, 55% answered either "No" or "Doesn't matter" when asked if they considered the ownership of their aggregator.
Commenters were more uniform in their opinion. Broker Tony said that, while his aggregator is independent, he doesn't believe bank-owned aggregators encroach on the independence of their brokers.
"I am with Connective and do value independence. However, from what I have seen the NAB-owned aggregators are also left alone to do their thing and would be regarded as independent. I would have an issue if a bank started using ownership of an aggregator as a way to influence brokers into pushing more business their way unless of course they had a genuinely competitive offering that was worth supporting on its own merits," he wrote.
Country Broker indicated that it's the independence of the broker, not the aggregator, that matters most.
"I am in a bank-owned aggregator and have my own licence. I am independent as I run my own business, have my own licence and if my aggregator - who I am very happy with - upsets me, I can move and they know that. Is this independence? Yes," he argued.
Lynne Cox argued that aggregator independence is important, but suggested banks may erode this independence regardless.
"The big banks just keep herding us into paddocks that suit them," Cox said.
PeterT, meanwhile, said his bank-owned aggregator wields little influence over his business.
"I'm with a bank-owned aggregator and I hold my own licence. I've never been influenced to put business with that bank. I also pay for independent software. For the most part, my aggregator pays me regularly and that's about it. I consider myself more independent than a credit rep with a privately owned aggregator or franchise," he said.
Poll: Is independence important to you?