ASIC has just released its 2013 Stakeholder Survey report and,overall, it appears that stakeholders, including brokers and aggregators, hold a generally positive view of the regulator - but that warmth doesn't necessarily transfer from consumers to brokers themselves.
One area where consumers and regulated stakeholders showed a particularly marked difference was when it came to the following questions: “Do investors and consumers have access to the advice and information they need?”
Half (50%) of the regulated population agreed that consumers have access to advice that meets their needs, while only 40% of consumers agreed.
ASIC believes concerns about the reliability of advice and information from industry gatekeepers, including mortgage brokers, is a key factor behind the latter figures.
“Some investors and consumers were concerned that the various gatekeepers in the system who should be able to help them with advice and information only ‘have their own interests at heart’, rather than those of the consumer,” reads the report.
“For example, one consumer was offered three options for a mortgage by a mortgage broker and felt that vested interests influenced the information she was given.”
“It was through the broker but they are tied in and give me three options and keep pushing [brand] is good.” (Investor/consumer)
Furthermore, industry associations felt that when it becomes ‘excessive’, disclosure becomes ineffective for consumers and inefficient for industry.