Difficulties by lenders to compile clear, robust data on brokers has prompted the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) to call for improved systems that allow banks and non-banks to track and report on broker activity.
Speaking in front of a Senate Standing Committee on Economics in a government inquiry into consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector on Wednesday (26 April), ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell
said that collecting data for the regulator’s recent Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration
was a challenge.
The main difficulty was that some lenders could not track simple issues such as the loans that were originated from and the amount of remuneration paid to each individual broker. Certain lenders also had no way to track the soft dollar benefits offered.
“One of the recommendations we have made is that this information should be provided through a new public reporting regime of consumer outcomes,” Kell said. “[This will] require lenders to set up systems to allow them to track this [and] also provide some transparency in the market.”
Kell emphasised that these gaps in information were not as a result of any unwillingness by the lenders to provide data. However, “it was apparent that the systems that some of the lenders had in place were not as robust and didn’t give them as clear a picture as I think they themselves would wish,” he told the committee.
The exercise was a “wakeup call” for some of the lenders, he said.
ASIC recommended a public reporting regime to eliminate current issues with the non-consistent structures between lenders with different systems, metrics and numbers.
“Having a public reporting regime is a good discipline to ensure that this data will be collected going forward,” Kell said.
However, the challenge for ASIC now is determining how to compile the collated information in a manner that both the industry and the public can see.
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