Speaking up for brokers

by 05 Jun 2018

Last month Entourage Finance broker Vincent Moore, penned an open letter to the Barefoot Investor and the outspoken journalist responded

Brokers haven’t had the easiest time in the mainstream media of late, following months of highly critical articles, most recently in response to the royal banking commission.

As their reputation in the eyes of the consumer takes a hit, many have countered the negative coverage with stories that reaffirm the broker’s role in the financial ecosystem. However, one broker went a step further last month when he penned an open letter to Scott Pape, aka the Barefoot Investor.

In a column published in the Herald Sun, Pape likened broking to social media – two industries that appear to be free at the point of access but, as recently discovered, can have very expensive consequences for the end user.

Drawing parallels between Facebook and the Australian finance industry, Pape twice wrote: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product”. While the observation has previously been applied to everything from the dot-com boom of the 1990s to social media in the 2010s, when applied to broking it only tells half the story.

For Vincent Moore, broker at Entourage Finance, Pape’s comments were simply another contribution to the ongoing public debate following the royal commission. However, online comments posted by other brokers inspired him to respond.

“I thought someone had to step out and potentially open a dialogue with Scott in a positive light as compared to pushing him further away, which might harshen his views even more,” he says.

While Moore generally considers himself a fan of Pape’s “anti-establishment views”, this time he penned an open letter that concluded with an invitation to the Barefoot Investor to discuss his musings further over coffee.

“In this case, I don’t think he has hit the mark. This may be due to a lack of understanding of some of the work brokers do or a past experience with a couple of poor brokers. As a result, he can often paint us all with the same brush and miss the value we bring to the table,” Moore says.

“There are many brokers, such as myself, who don’t even look at commissions when placing a client with a lender – I personally couldn’t even tell you what each bank pays us.”

“I thought someone had to step out and potentially open dialogue with Scott in a positive light as compared to pushing him further away” - Vincent Moore

Moore isn’t the only one concerned that negative coverage will impact public perceptions: more than 65% of brokers surveyed by MyState Bank said they were seriously or moderately concerned about the impact of the royal commission.

Reporting an “overwhelmingly positive response” to his letter, Moore has been contacted by brokers across Australia and, much to his surprise, even the Barefoot Investor himself, who accepted the invitation to meet.

“Scott was one of many people who commented. He said that he finds independent brokers invaluable and would love to meet up for a coffee and chat. Watch this space!” AB