MFAA defends slimmed-down national conferences

by Phil McCarroll26 Sep 2016
The Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) believes a slimmed-down offering of its national conferences for 2017 will better resonate with brokers.

The MFAA last week announced its 2017 conferences have been rebranded as the MFAA Business Builders and will be a one-day state-based event in every capital city outside of Hobart and Darwin.

The 2017 conferences themselves have also been streamlined and will only run each day from 9am to 2pm, a decision MFAA head of marketing Stephen Hale said was based on feedback from this year’s events.

“It’s purely based on broker feedback. They liked the idea of what we did with Broker 2020, but the day went too long,” Hale told Australian Broker.

“It started with a breakfast, so they were there at 7am and finished at 4:30pm and had very little time between then and the awards on the same night. Based on the feedback we got from the people who attended we decided to pull the event back and have a more concise day,” he said.

Hale said marketing would be a cornerstone of the 2017 conferences and that the MFAA is committed to delivering practical advice to its members.

“A lot of people put on days where they have guest marketing speakers and anybody can really do that. A lot of brokers say to us that those sorts of things sound good, but it’s not really practical when it comes to their business,” he told Australian Broker.

“One of our members uses the MFFA free content and puts that into e-books aimed at first home buyers or investors and mails them out. So it’s looking at marketers like that who are actually brokers and doing it in a practical sense.”

Hale said conferences would have a heavy focus on how brokers can build and stabilise their revenue streams while keeping operating costs down, including advice on how to better use social media and other digital tools to generate leads and interact with consumers.

Along with shortening the run time for each day, the MFAA has also reduced attendance costs. The Business Builder conferences will now cost brokers $99 compared to $250 this year, while the awards ceremonies are also down from $250 to $165.

While there is still a cost involved in attending the events for MFAA members, Hale believes they are provided with value for money.

“We’re not asking members to fly in to the Gold Coast or somewhere like that. We’re saying this is in your capital city, with the exclusion of Hobart and Darwin.

“Were saying we’ll bring this to the broker and meet in a location that’s convenient to them. We’ve reduced the cost and the revenue we do get from the fees allows us to take it to each state.”

In an effort to make other services more convenient for brokers, the MFAA has also announced it will soon roll out the online delivery of both live and recorded professional development days for regional brokers.

The MFAA said the new program is aimed at ensuring regional brokers are able to log their continuing professional development hours.

“Our team has responded to regional business members who are often too busy to travel to development days, or too far away from them. They want to receive the education and information but often miss out due to the sheer size of Australia,” Hale said.

“The MFAA will ensure that at least seven or eight of our PD Days are broadcast to regional areas nationally so that brokers don’t feel so isolated.”

MFAA members and non-members will still need to register to receive the CPD hours and confirm attendance on the day, as they would for attendance at a physical event.