Over the last month, the finance industry has been out in force to defend the third-party channel, from aggregators to lenders and everyone between. Now an established political party – which is already in the process of registration – has told Australian Broker that it is set to take on the industry's cause.
Stop Selling Australia was founded by NSW-based Steve Murphy and the party’s main aim is to end foreign ownership of Australian farmland, essential services, and strategic assets. But now an extension of its remit will see the preservation of the broker channel added to its list of causes.
The idea came from the party’s Victoria representative Michael Barclay, who currently works as both a maths teacher and broker.
Barclay completed his mortgage broking course just last year, drawing from a decade of knowledge gained through investing in property on the side of his teaching career. However, he is ready to move on from teaching and is even prepared to step away from broking despite so recently having joined the industry.
“If I get in, everything else can stop,” he said.
As an active member of the industry, Barclay said the royal commission recommendations were particularly frustrating to him.
“Our party is not just about stopping the selling of Australia, it’s about looking out for Australians and protecting what’s in the best interest of Australian people,” he explained.
“The recommendations from the royal commission would pretty much destroy mortgage brokers. Forcing them to charge an upfront fee will reduce competition, push more business into the big four banks, and raise interest rates. That is definitely not in the interest of the Australian people.”
This isn’t Barclay’s first foray into politics. He ran as an independent in the 2013 federal election but found himself unable to compete with the massive budgets of the Labor and Liberal candidates.
SSA mainly advertises through its Facebook page and website. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is in the process of verifying the party’s 500 members and Barclay feels confident they will be fully registered in time for the federal election in May.
With regards to Hayne’s recommendations, the party is opposed to a compulsory upfront fee and remains unconvinced that eliminating trail commissions is necessary. In addition, the party’s position on clawback is that any measures that are imposed should be pro-rata.
Barclay concluded, “The royal commission was to look into misconduct in banking. For some reason, they came out with all these recommendations about brokers. It seems like we’re the scapegoat. It just doesn’t make sense.”