As the FBAA celebrates its silver anniversary, Peter White reflects on 25 years of standing up for brokers
In the winter of 1992, a small group of brokers gathered in a church hall in Bowen Hills, Brisbane, with the intention of discussing the industry issues that mattered to them. With an agenda to improve professional standards and establish a voice for brokers in Queensland, the initial focus centred on representation for chattel-mortgage and plant and equipment brokers.
Under the name Finance Brokers Association of Queensland, the six-strong cohort each pledged $50 to the cause and started to contact other brokers within their networks to arrange a second, bigger meeting.
Momentum soon grew, and in June 1993, thanks to a large donation from founding member and international businessman Geoff Thomas, Australia’s first association for finance brokers was established.
“There are a lot of people who are up in arms over today’s issues, but we’re the ones unreservedly out there” Peter White, executive director, FBAA
“Since the early 1990s, we have gone through three significant changes in consumer lending regulations, and the professional standards of brokers today are of the highest integrity and professionalism ever,” says executive director Peter White, who joined in 2003 as the FBAA’s scope widened to encompass residential mortgage brokers.
Since then, White has held the roles of NSW president, national VP, national president, and chairman of the board of directors. Following his appointment to CEO in 2010, FBAA membership increased from 1,000 to more than 8,300 members currently.
“The attraction for many is the real-life practical knowledge and experience we have in the industry,” says White. “FBAA does not take in major banks as corporate sponsors, which enables us to hold independent control of our own voice in the marketplace.”
The FBAA maintains its position as an association run ‘by brokers for brokers’ and has a firm grasp of the challenges faced currently. Taking an active role in driving the continued development of the industry, the body is currently working to encourage more women into finance broking, create an attractive student pathway, continuously elevate professional standards, and support members through their early years in the business.
“There are a lot of people who are up in arms over today’s issues, but we’re the ones unreservedly out there taking on those concerns at the top end of town – taking the bull by its horns,” says White.
The FBAA National Industry Conference is a key driver of this. Growing from 150 delegates at the inaugural event in 2012 to 1,000 people in 2017, the Brisbane-based conference is a highlight in many brokers’ annual calendars. After a turbulent 12 months for the industry, White promises the 2018 conference will be “unlike anything anyone has done in our industry”, covering changes imposed by technology, regulation, customer preferences and the royal commission.
“The FBAA has shaped the voice of the broker versus that of the lender, and over 15 years or more has continually challenged the status quo. In 2005, we were the sole voice in our industry supporting one legislation piece without state variations, with others following suit some years later, and we have continued to influence many pieces of legislation. Our lives would be a lot worse if not for the undertakings and outcomes of the work the FBAA does with regulators and government,” White says.