A number of the industry's remaining independent aggregators will sell within 18 months, according to AFG's managing director Brett McKeon.
Speaking to Australian BrokerNews after being forced to deny peristent rumours that his own business was for sale, McKeon said that the broking industry faced a period of unprecedented consolidation, and that small business brokers would be negatively affected.
"I think the industry has continued to consolidate over the last few years," McKeon said.
"You have NAB brokers now - not PLAN, Choice or FAST brokers - and that is a huge block of the industry. Then you have Mortgage Choice and Aussie with a 'big brother' on their register," he said.
McKeon said when AFG's broker network is taken into account - with about 25% of the industry - the picture was clear. "If that is not consolidated, then I don't know what is," he said.
McKeon said of the remaining independent aggregators "two or three" would likely be sold within 18 months, bringing about a fully mature industry with little opportunity for new players.
"The voice for the industry is being diminished, and because of that consolidation into the hands of manufacturers, it will have a negative impact on brokers in the medium term," he said.
"How much [impact] is still to play out; but the fact we are still here is positive for them and the industry more broadly," he said.
In recent years, NAB acquired Challenger-owned aggregators PLAN, Choice and FAST, while CBA has obtained stakes in Aussie, and more recently Mortgage Choice via Count Financial.
McKeon said that AFG's independence is and remains a key differentiator in the mortgage market.
"I think that is why a lot of brokers are coming to us, because they know we are putting their interests first, and that we are not a voice owned by a bank, we are not speaking as a manufacturer," he said.
"We also haven't just set up to sell which maybe some of the others have ultimately done, or are doing," he added.
McKeon laid the blame for AFG 'for sale' rumours at the feet of competing aggregators who may themselves be for sale to institutions and were frustrated by AFG's winning large corporate tenders.
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