Proposal to grant authorisation for mortgage broking disciplinary rules

10 December 2019

The ACCC is proposing to grant re-authorisation to the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) to allow it to continue enforcing disciplinary rules among its members.

The MFAA is the peak national body for mortgage and finance brokers, mortgage managers and aggregators. Its disciplinary rules enforce the MFAA’s Code of Practice, which establishes standards of conduct and behaviour for MFAA members, as well as mechanisms for suspending or expelling members.

The ACCC has authorised versions of these disciplinary rules on three previous occasions, each time for five years. However, in this case, the MFAA is seeking authorisation for a shorter period of two years, due to expected reforms to the mortgage and finance industry following the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

“The revised disciplinary rules are likely to increase consumer confidence and protection, by keeping mortgage brokers to a higher standard than what is required by the law,” ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said.

“Following the Royal Commission, there is potential for significant legislative and regulatory change, which may affect the MFAA’s governance regime.”

“The MFAA has said that it would approach the ACCC as necessary to accommodate any relevant regulatory or legislative reforms into its disciplinary rules,” Mr Ridgeway said.

The disciplinary rules submitted by the MFAA include some limited changes from previous versions; they clarify disciplinary and appeal processes for members, and improve members’ rights to appeal their suspension from the MFAA.

Further information, including the ACCC’s draft determination, is available at Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia

Background

The MFAA is the peak national body for mortgage and finance brokers, mortgage managers and aggregators. It has more than 13,700 members. The ACCC has previously granted five-year authorisations for the MFAA’s disciplinary rules, in 2004, 2009, and 2014.

The MFAA applied for re-authorisation of its disciplinary rules in December 2018, proposing minor changes.

The Royal Commission submitted its Final Report on 1 February 2019, which included several recommendations affecting the mortgage broking sector.

The MFAA sought, and was granted in April 2019, interim authorisation to allow it to continue to enforce existing disciplinary rules, to give it time to review its governance regime and implement changes in response to the Royal Commission, which it submitted would take six months.

In September 2019, the MFAA submitted that due to ongoing change in the industry and regulatory environment, it would be unable to make the anticipated changes to its governance regime within the estimated six-month timeframe.

The MFAA therefore amended its application for re-authorisation by further revising the disciplinary rules and seeking authorisation for just two years.

Release number: 
235/19
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