Consumer group reports “contradictory”

Despite recent negative reports into brokers, aggregators have called for better consultation with consumer groups and the community

Consumer group reports “contradictory”



While the broking industry has been targeted by consumer reports on remuneration, fraud and other negative topics, aggregator heads have called for a better response by the broker industry to cut through the noise.

At a recent aggregator roundtable held by Australian Broker’s sister publication Mortgage Professional Australia (MPA), Blake Buchanan, GM aggregation at eChoice, slammed a number of recent consumer reports, calling them “contradictory”.

“On one hand they say competition is good for the consumer … and brokers bring about competition,” he said. “On the other hand they say brokers shouldn’t be paid as much as they are and [that] they should go back to their retail counterparts.”

Mark Haron, director of Connective, said that the industry as a whole needed to be more consultative and better inform the consumer groups.

“We do need to engage with them. We need to get that voice of consumer in the process as we move towards a self-regulatory structure.”

“I think when we haven’t been consulting with those consumer groups then they are going to come out and probably take some pot shots.”

By consulting with these groups and reinforcing the positive values that brokers bring, consumer groups can be brought onside, Haron said.

This was being accomplished through the combined industry forum which was working to consult with these groups, he added.

“One of those things that we’re embarking on through the forum is to talk to consumer groups to keep them better informed as to what the industry is doing so that therefore their reactions will be educated,” he said. 

“Hopefully they’ll be looking to get the same outcomes that we are: better outcomes for customers [and] more competition for the consumers. That should be a healthy attitude that those consumer groups should have towards this approach and its focus.”

Tanya Sale, CEO of Outsource Financial, was more cautious saying that the industry had to carefully select which groups it sits down with.

“We have to choose the consumer groups or group that’s willing to listen and learn. They just keep on throwing out these bombs … and they’re so ill-informed it’s not funny.”

Buchanan rejoined the conversation, saying that consumer groups had a voice in the mainstream media which aggregators and brokers did not.

“These consumer groups get out in the mainstream media which touches the consumer [while] we report back within our industry. We don’t really have a strong voice to the open consumer market and that’s one thing I think we can really start working on.”

Brokers could also step up and help with this as well, he added.

“If you’re in a community, you should be engaging with your community leaders and your community press and telling them what you do for the residents and their consumers.

“I think it’s one thing to circulate this negative press amongst our own industry and whinge about it, but we should be positive in our response and take it back to consumers.”

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