ACCC backs MFAA disciplinary procedures

by BN22 Apr 2009

The disciplinary rules which allow the MFAA to suspend and expel members for misconduct have received the backing of the government's competition watchdog.

In a statement issued today, the ACCC said it proposes to grant "conditional authorisation" to the MFAA to enable it to continue to use the rules, which form part of its Code of Practice and Constitution.

The proposes authorisation is made on condition that the MFAA delete a rule which provides the MFAA's board with the ability to impose sanctions on a member regardless of any other action being taken by the MFAA Tribunal or at law. The ACCC considers this rule undermines the role of the MFAA Tribunal.

Announcement of the proposed authorisation – which will run for five years, should it be confirmed – follows the previous authorisation expiring on 19 February.

Under the MFAA disciplinary rules, a MFAA member can be expelled or suspended for misconduct or breach of its code. 

ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, said the authorisation provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

"The governance regime sets a professional and ethical standard of conduct in the mortgage and broking industry. The ACCC considers that the rules provide a means for enforcing this standard, particularly through the provisions relating to the investigating officer's powers to investigate complaints, and the range of sanctions which the MFAA Tribunal may impose.

"The ACCC considers that these measures act as a significant deterrent for MFAA members to act inappropriately."

The ACCC seeks submissions from interested parties in relation to the draft determination before making its final decision by 15 May 2009. 

For the current list of expelled and suspended members click here