Mortgage adviser member organisation operational

Country manager for New Zealand appointed

Mortgage adviser member organisation operational

Mortgage advisers in New Zealand now have the option to join the Finance and Mortgage Advisers Association of New Zealand (FAMNZ).

The dedicated membership organisation for mortgage advisers has appointed Leigh Hodgetts (pictured above left) to the role of country manager NZ, to build and oversee its membership base.

Peter White, managing director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (pictured above right) announced in November that it would expand its operations in New Zealand.

Leigh Hodgetts officially joined FAMNZ at the end of January as country manager  NZ, based in central Auckland.

FAMNZ, a dedicated membership organisation for New Zealand mortgage advisers, provides advocacy and support for the New Zealand mortgage industry, with a focus on growing mortgage adviser market share.

Hodgetts, who has a background in financial planning, has over 17 years’ industry experience working in financial services roles across New Zealand and Australia.

Upon moving to New Zealand, she took on the role of manager, retail operations at the Financial Markets Authority. She has since worked in a range of senior regulatory and compliance roles in New Zealand, more recently with Financial Advice New Zealand, Kiwi Adviser Network (KAN) and Kepa. 

Having returned to an industry-facing role after working as a consultant, Hodgetts told NZ Adviser that she was enjoying reconnecting with mortgage advisers, lender product providers and aggregator groups.

“My immediate focus is to get the association up and running and provide as much support as we can to make adviser businesses successful in New Zealand,” Hodgetts said.

The opportunity to leverage from the resources and experience of the FBAA and provide support to mortgage advisers to enable them to focus on helping consumers is particularly exciting, she said.

Good customer outcomes support growth

In the current economic climate of higher interest rates and cost of living pressures, Hodgetts said that it was important that all consumers had the opportunity to seek professional financial advice.

White, who continues as managing director of the FBAA while also contracting to FAMNZ, said that as part of generating good outcomes for consumers, they need to know there are mortgage advisers they can speak to, and the value they provide.

“The key is to bring much greater awareness to consumers – the public marketplace of mortgage advisers – and what they do,” White said.

Industry estimates indicate that New Zealand mortgage adviser market share currently sits at around 50%.  With mortgage adviser market share in Australia currently sitting at 71.5% (September 2023 quarter), White said that there was significant potential to grow that figure in New Zealand.

Bringing greater awareness to consumers as the “public marketplace” of advisers and what they do, will help to achieve this goal, he said.

“We want to get mortgage advisers to focus on the professionalism of what they’re doing and to proudly go mainstream to consumers throughout New Zealand, letting them know that this is what mortgage advisers do,” White said.

Australian experience provides useful insights

FAMNZ has been consulting with the Financial Markets Authority on Fair Outcomes for Consumers and Markets, which White said “almost parallels” Best Interests Duty and responsible lending obligations in place in Australia.

“I am hoping that our advocacy and regulatory commentary back to the FMA helps to inform of the lessons and mistakes that we made in Australia, to get it right a lot quicker for New Zealanders and be more beneficial to consumers and the market,” White said.

White said that FAMNZ intends to conduct local research and comment on New Zealand industry issues and initiatives. This will create opportunities to converse with mainstream media and provide “relevant conversations into the issues of the day” for the marketplace, he said.

‘Family’ approach taken to membership

As a dedicated member organisation for mortgage advisers, White said that FAMNZ would focus on mortgage advice as a specialist area of financial advice.

FAMNZ aims to build a “family of members”, encompassing all of the people who support the organisation, he said.

“We are concerned about their mental health and the challenges they’re facing,” he said.

“We are personally invested in our members and treat them as part of our family…we talk about it all of the time, in that manner.”

The FAMNZ website is in the final stages of development and will be live in the coming week.  Mortgage adviser members will have the opportunity to subscribe to newsletters and communications, including PD Days.

As a not-for-profit, White said that FAMNZ would look to reinvest retained earnings for the benefit of its members. Professional development days would be provided to members at no extra cost, he said.

Its standard membership fee is priced at NZ$660 per year and membership is open to all mortgage advisers. 

Hodgetts said that she looked forward to continuing to build relationships with mortgage advisers, including responding to questions and steering advisers in the right direction.

“I’m passionate about connecting with people and helping where I can,” she said.

Those interested in becoming FAMNZ members can provide an expression of interest using the online form available on the website, or can reach out to Leigh Hodgetts directly for more information.

How can FAMNZ support mortgage advisers?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.