The FBAA's National Industry Conference on the Gold Coast kicked off on Friday with a record attendance of about 900 industry professionals, 45 exhibitors and speeches on mental and physical health, as well as the economy.
“We’re taking a very strong coporate citizenship [role] ... about people’s health. That’s their mental health, their physical health and it’s also their business health," FBAA executive director Peter White told Australian Broker at the conference.
“I firmly believe if we get all those things right, [brokers] will not only be better within themselves, they’ll be better in their production of business, so they’ll be more successful as brokers, family life is better, business is better, it’s good for lenders, it’s good for aggregators, it’s good for us, nobody loses," he said.
The conference began with a welcome address from White, who spoke about mental health, the changes in the industry this year and the FBAA's achievements. The industry association's membership is up now to 7,949, compared to last July when it was 6,433. He also talked about the number of submissions to government the FBAA has made on behalf of brokers this year. That number has risen to 13 from five in 2016.
Following White, leading business and financial commentator Peter Switzer spoke about the economy and improving one's business offering by "thinking outside the square", a talk that one broker found "uplifting".
Thy Ha, a broker with The Loan Lounge in Sydney and a first-time attendee at the conference, said she found Switzer's speech "very positive" and took a lot away from it, including to work on cultivating and fostering your team's strengths and leveraging that.
Ha said she was keen to attend the conference this year to "see what the leaders are doing" and to learn and gain new knowledge. Ha said she really appreciated the focus on mental health awareness as well.
"I love the language they're using, it's so encouraging," she said. Referring to White's opening address on the topic, she said a "man of his calibre and status" coming out to discuss a traditionally taboo topic on such a big stage in front of so many people was important. "I love the language they're using, it's so encouraging," she said.
The conference continues Friday with talks from Mark Blundell, Lisa Montgomery, Angry Anderson and Graeme Edwards as well as an industry leaders' panel discussion and a gala dinner and awards night.
“I hope they take away the strengths that will be portrayed by people. Out of people’s journeys comes great learnings, you can take a lot of strength from what people go through," White said.