The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) for its Disciplinary Rules. The ACCC proposes to grant authorisation for five years.

The MFAA is a voluntary industry organisation that represents over 10,000 mortgage and finance brokers, mortgage managers and aggregators.

Members are required to comply with the MFAA governance regime, including a Code of Practice that outlines the requirements and professional standards expected of members. The MFAA is only seeking authorisation of the Disciplinary Rules that enforce its governance regime (the Code and MFAA Constitution).

The Rules outline the process for investigating complaints, expulsion of members and hearing appeals against refused applications for membership or accreditation.

Since the ACCC last authorised the Disciplinary Rules in 2009, a national regulatory regime for the credit industry commenced in 2010 under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act (NCCPA).

“The MFAA's membership requirements impose higher educational and professional standards on its members than required under the NCCPA,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The Disciplinary Rules provide an effective means for enforcing these standards and are likely to improve consumer confidence and consumer protection in the mortgage and broking industries.

Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.

The ACCC is now seeking submissions on the draft determination.