Australians think free broking claim's dubious

Wednesday 24 March 2004

While the debate on whether it is appropriate for mortgage brokers to promote their services as "free" to their customers has flared recently in New Zealand, it appears the Australian industry is about to decide such claims aren’t kosher.

By The Landlord

The debate in New Zealand was prompted by Mortgage Link’s decision to drop the claim from its advertising.

Mortgage Industry Association of Australia (MIAA) chief executive Phil Naylor says that following Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation into misleading advertising by a couple of broking firms, his association has drawn up draft advertising guidelines.

The idea is to self-regulate before regulations are imposed on mortgage brokers.

Once ASIC has approved the guidelines, they will be distributed to all MIAA members.

The two companies involved in the ASIC investigations Fintrack and Express Home Loans, had been making misleading claims, including that they weren’t influenced by the commissions they received as to which loans they recommended because they were receiving the same commissions from all lenders. They weren’t. Another claim was that they represented 40 lenders when the actual number was somewhat less.

While these particular claims weren’t factually correct, there is still a lot of confusion in the broking industry as to what claims could be made legitimately and which couldn’t, Naylor says.

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