Brokers need to be extra prudent when it comes to posting opinions online or engaging in discussions in online forums, the chief executive of the MFAA has warned.
With the mortgage broking sector coming under increasing regulatory surveillance – ASIC has two reviews into the sector planned for 2016 – the chief executive of the MFAA Siobhan Hayden has said the industry also needs to be prepared for increasing scrutiny from the mainstream press.
“What is really important is what is happening now from a mainstream media point of view... Brokers have got to be very clear that senior editors in the mainstream press have taken this up as a topic of interest. The government are reading those papers and they are looking at our trade press to form their opinions,” Hayden told Australian Broker
“Of note in [a recent article] was direct mention of the blogs in our sector and actually reiterating a comment from a broker – and [the journalist] was supportive of that comment because it actually fell into [their] narrative. I have had numerous interviews with [mainstream press] and [they] absolutely [have] a dog on a bone attitude towards us as a sector…”
Whilst Hayden says brokers need to drive informed discussion of the sector, she is also warning brokers to think carefully and scrutinise themselves before making a comment publicly.
“[Mainstream press are] looking at our internal blogs and trade press so any article you write or comment on, my challenge to members broadly is if you have got something to shoot from the hip imagine you are sitting in front of Peter Kell
and Kelly O’Dwyer,” Hayden told Australian Broker
“Your opinion from the hip is taken and it is noticed and if it isn’t well informed it is being scrutinised. If you want to shoot from the hip and be passionate about something, think twice before you go to press.
“Everyone is encouraged to have their say but don’t think of it from only your backyard. Comments made quickly about how we should become fee-for-service is not so smart, for example. That is what [the mainstream press] saw and thought that would be good to run with.”