Mortgage franchises will face stronger scrutiny in future as Australia’s first franchise registry was launched to bridge a ‘credibility gap’.
The Franchise Registry was launched by Small Business Minister Bruce Billson at a franchise industry event in Melbourne yesterday.
Billson welcomed the registry’s purpose to enhance the credibility of Australian franchising, improve franchisor compliance and provide a sound resource for people looking to invest in a franchise.
“Federal government has long had an appetite for better indicators of stability in franchising and we welcome any initiative that can generate more meaningful data that we can use to enhance our support of the sector,” Billson said.
The registry’s website states it was set up to fill the “credibility gap” that currently exists in Australian franchising.
“It will provide a valuable reference point for prospective franchisees and their advisors to check whether a franchise system is in fact registered, and it will provide franchise systems with a means of differentiating themselves from non-registered systems.”
However, franchises which register will also have information collected on them, for policy-making purposes.
Data collected from franchises is kept confidential, but is aggregated and provided to government and other regulators to help develop and administer the franchise sector, the company said.
Franchise Council of Australia chairman Michael Paul said the registry would highlight credibility and strength in the $131 billion sector.
“It’s unfortunate that allegations of inappropriate franchisor behaviour from a small but vocal minority have the potential to impact the reputation of the wider franchising sector when Australia is the envy of global franchising, with the lowest rates of franchisee disputes in the world,” he said.
“We welcome the registry and its ability to generate broad and insightful data on our sector, allowing us to enhance the representation of our members by putting issues into context and proactively promoting our strengths.”
In 2010, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services report on franchising said there needed to be better stability indicators and industry data from the Australian franchising sector.
The committee recommended a registration system for franchise businesses should be established; however the government vetoed that due to costs.
The Franchise Registry was established by private franchise analysis company FRANdata Australia.
According to the Franchising Australia 2012 Survey, there are around 1,100 franchise brands in Australia, but FRANdata is the first organisation to map the sector.
To secure registration, franchise brands must provide The Franchise Registry annually a copy of their franchise documentation, and certify it is compliant.
“This is likely to lead to a rise in industry standards, and will provide greater confidence to prospective franchisees and the public generally,” the company said.
More than two hundred franchise systems are already listed on the registry, which can be found at www.thefranchiseregistry.com.au.