FBAA plans to boost advisers’ market share

Lifting the number of mortgages written by independent advisers will be a top priority for the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) when it sets up a New Zealand office in February under a new brand.

FBAA chief executive Peter White won’t reveal the new brand until nearer the office opening on February 1.

He says it will have a host of features to ensure the association is supporting the New Zealand marketplace in the right way and the way advisers want to be supported, not the way the FBAA thinks they should be.

Of Australia’s 19,600 mortgage advisers, 11,500 belong to the FBAA. In New Zealand mortgage advisers can join Financial Advice NZ. Its outgoing chief executive Katrina Shanks says the organisation has a significant number of mortgage adviser members but won’t reveal figures.

White has been involved with the FBAA for 30 years and in the past decade says it has been extraordinarily successful in helping boost market penetration for independent advisers. That comes through multiple things, he says.

“It's not just about any one thing. While we don't want to give it away to our competitors completely, it revolves around a strategic approach, high engagement with regulators and the media as well as politicians, and ensuring there is not just opinion-based commentary, but also fact-based commentary in the marketplace on the value of using a mortgage adviser.”

He says using a mortgage adviser in Australia is about 50% cheaper than going through a bank’s branch network. “If banks want to improve their return on investment to shareholders, they need to stop and listen closely to what mortgage advisers have to offer.”

He says the FBAA can deliver far better outcomes as a group. “We’ve been successful in what we do and in how we support people in the mortgage arena. We have already done the hard yards over the past 30 years and our plan is to offer New Zealand mortgage advisers a much stronger voice and representation in front of regulators and politicians as well as expanding on their capabilities through conversations in the media.

“We have extraordinarily successful recipe that will give greater awareness and understanding to borrowers as to why they should be using a mortgage adviser to get their home loan rather than just going direct to the banks,” White says.

For eight months the FBAA has been working on technology enhancements for the New Zealand market. “Through technology we can deliver a great environment for anyone doing mortgage advice in New Zealand and hopefully expand the market share of those loans that originate through third parties, not just borrowers going direct to banks,” he says.

For the FBAA, White says it already has critical mass in its existing operations and it’s just a matter of extending them to New Zealand with some technology enhancements.

Initially, there'll be a country manager only in New Zealand, with the office infrastructure managed through the FBAA’s existing systems and staff so it doesn’t unnecessarily increase costs where it doesn’t need to.

He says the support for New Zealand mortgage advisers will include a lot more professional development events relevant to what the industry wants and needs. “We want advisers to get more business, their market share to grow, banks become more profitable and the FMA’s governance and supervision across mortgage advisers meet the rigour it wants.

White says consumers will get “the world's best deal by dealing with qualified advisers that are looking after them for all the right reasons”.

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