Brokers reject argument to raise minimum education requirement

by Julia Corderoy15 Sep 2014
Education in the wider financial services industry has been thrust into the spotlight on the heels of the ‘financial planning crisis’.

Last week, the Consumer Credit Legal Service WA said in its submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services Inquiry that standards in the broking industry need to be reviewed, and that brokers should have a university degree at a minimum.

“Our view is that the law should impose more stringent regulations for brokers in the financial services industry to lift the professional, ethical and education standards of the industry,” the submission stated. 

However, every broker and industry professional Australian Broker contacted for comment rejected this view.  

Peter Sullivan, general manager of Astute says that making mortgage brokers obtain a university degree is going overboard.

“I don’t think there would be enough productive and relevant subjects to warrant a three year full time university degree for mortgage finance. There would just be a case of students having to study things that will not be useful for them in the workforce as a broker. Obtaining a certificate IV or diploma provides enough in terms of a minimum standard of education.

“It is more important in broking that there is on-going education of a high standard, rather than raising the minimum education requirements to enter the industry. 

Mark Ballard, mortgage broker at Choice Home Loans says that nothing beats getting out into the workforce.

“I think the current minimum educational requirements are sufficient. A university degree isn’t going to necessarily make better brokers. Going out and getting into the workforce and learning on the job will make better brokers. 

“Getting out into the workforce and dealing with real life situations and being mentored by experienced brokers is priceless. Quality mentoring and learning on the job is far more important.”

Jeremy Fisher, director of 1st Street Home Loans says that the industry has already undergone big changes in regards to minimum education requirements, and it is time to focus on other ways to lift the standard of the industry.

“We have already seen a huge improvement in regards to minimum education requirements since I started in the broking industry. 

“I am all for education and I am all for raising the standard and professionalism of the industry, but I don’t necessarily think obtaining a university degree as a minimum standard of education will benefit brokers. I don’t think that a broker with a university degree will give better advice than a broker with a diploma. 

“I would like to see more cooperation and a more uniform approach between our industry bodies to lift the standards of mentoring and on-going professional development. To me, that is more real and more valuable than going out and getting a university degree.”