The mortgage broking industry was reminded we are living in a world where nothing stands still at the MFAA’s 2023 national conference in Sydney last week.
A series of future-focused sessions on technology, customers and business were designed to prepare attendees for the challenges and changes to come.
Focusing on the theme of “Future Matters”, and attended by around 900 registered delegates, MFAA CEO Anja Pannek (pictured below) opened the annual conference at the ICC Sydney on Thursday, May 25, by saying that although mortgage broking would change, it would remain rooted in a value proposition focused on helping people and providing choice and competition.
Everything from social media apps and platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, to the rise of AI or community expectations regarding diversity and inclusion would bring “waves of disruption”, Pannek said, causing broker business impacts and the need for new ways of doing things.
However, Pannek said the opportunity was there to embrace change and to use technology and innovation to deepen client relationships, by starting the journey with clients earlier, introducing efficiencies into workflows, or marketing to current and prospective clients at moments of truth.
“Let’s not forget mortgage and finance broking has been the single biggest disruption in the lending landscape in Australia in the last few decades,” Pannek said. “So as an industry when we navigate the coming months and years – the future – we have the opportunity to continue to adapt, thrive and disrupt.”
Conference participants also attended a keynote speech from futurist and innovation strategist Anders Sörman-Nilsson on winning the “digital minds and analogue hearts” of tomorrow’s customers, where he highlighted some of the global trends that are coming that could “disrupt our existence”.
A broker and industry panel (pictured below), including Bernadette Christie-David from Atelier Wealth, Anthony Landahl from Equilibria Finance and NextGen chief customer office Tony Carn, as well as Pannek and Sörman-Nilsson, also explored how brokers could set about embracing change in a more practical sense.
Christie-David said thinking about what tasks they don’t enjoy could help brokers embrace technology in those areas, while Landahl urged brokers to focus on making themselves and their content relevant to clients by thinking about clients, and to keep investing in their business.
Carn said brokers could turn any threats into advantages, while Pannek said brokers should be “future embracing” rather than future proofing. She said brokers should “remember their purpose” and leverage technology because they can be agile and offer choice in the way a web page can’t.
The conference finished with a reminder to brokers that “you matter”, with a keynote speech from former All Blacks rugby star and coach turned mental health advocate, Sir John Kirwan. He said brokers needed to consider themselves as well as their customers so they were “feeling good and functioning well”.