Compliance support from aggregators

Compliance shot up the charts this year in our Brokers on Aggregators survey, pushing IT and CRM support out of the top three aggregator services. The reason is obvious: increased scrutiny from ASIC, whether it be through their remuneration review, investigations into interest-only lending or reviews of other areas. This barrage of regulatory changes will only increase when ASIC publishes its findings on remuneration next year.

Communicating and explaining regulation has therefore become a continual process. As National Mortgage Brokers (NMB) managing director Gerald Foley says: “Communication around compliance is a permanent part of our overall aggregator-broker engagement.”

PLAN, Choice and FAST communicate these changes through monthly updates.

“[The updates] may include areas of compliance that need greater focus, hints and tips, best practice and feedback from regulators on what they’re looking for,” says Choice Aggregation Services CEO Stephen Moore.

FAST has also started explaining changes in on-demand videos. Outsource are also creating compliance videos, as well as posting updates and amendments on their secure member website.




“You have to be careful about thinking you can be everything to everyone – this will only end in tears” - Tanya Sale, Outsource Financial




PD days and conferences continue to be used to explain changes. Often these events are highly specific, such as Choice’s lender expos, or Outsource’s quarterly fraud and compliance workshop, which is mandatory for members and is part of a national initiative to reduce fraud. Nevertheless, much compliance coaching is highly personal. NMB recently appointed a dedicated credit services manager, who coaches brokers about new regulator expectations, particularly know-your-customer requirements and record keeping.

More personalised support may become more common as aggregators advertise their investment in compliance support.

In the case of Specialist Finance Group, national operations manager Frank Paratore says, “The ongoing enhancement of compliance services was among the highest priorities during the year, with key management resources devoted to the project ensuring industry best practice for members ahead of continued legal compliance framework.”

At FAST, personal support is given once a year by credit advice consultants, who take brokers through what FAST describes as a “comprehensive review progress” featuring structured feedback. Similarly, Outsource has compliance managers who talk one-to-one with brokers.

Other methods complement one-to-one attention. As eChoice Aggregation’s general manager Blake Buchanan explains, eChoice uses a compliance scorecard: “The broker is easily able to identify the key areas for improvement if needed and can draw on the specialist expertise of our team for additional support.”




“Brokers [can] segment their database and identify those customers who are of the highest value to them” - Stephen Moore, Choice Aggregation Services


NMB aims to make compliance easier through technology; its NMB pro sales software has integrated compliance requirements. CEO Anja Pannek says PLAN’s aggregator is working with lenders “on upgrading systems and processes, catering for document indexing and electronic documents to help brokers with their applications overall.”

As in the area of commission payments, aggregators insist that collaboration between lenders and aggregators is unavoidable.

Outsource works with lenders to coach brokers that show up on the lenders’ quality/ error report. According to CEO Tanya Sale “[it] is going to be imperative to both aggregators and lenders to work together to ensure that both parties put together an ongoing plan to lift the quality of application and reduce [the level of ] errors that are occurring.”












 

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