Network head proposes recruitment code of conduct

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Some might call it a “poaching proclamation,” but the head of a national broker network is proposing a "code of conduct" dictating the way brokerages recruit professionals at other firms.

“I guess the biggest thing is to adhere to a code of ethics and integrity in our recruitment practices,” Mike Cameron, managing partner at Axiom Mortgage, told   “I don’t purport to have all the answers, but I am prepared to open the discussion because any improvements here would allow all of us to better focus on innovation and improvement without having to worry about defending against slander and misleading representations.”

Cameron is proposing a list of agreed-upon recruitment rules for the channel’s 10 biggest networks, but also its smaller players. It would mirror those used by chartered accounting and law firms and, ostensibly, limit the kind of aggressive headhunting critics charge has increased over the last year.

That growth coincides with a slowdown in the real estate market and a slip in broker originations.

“With margins being as slim as they are, every dollar of origination volume counts a lot,” said Cameron, also leader of the Mortgage Revolution, a grassroots effort to raise industry integrity and ethics. “This is why the recruiting is happening in the first place. This is also why organizations need to defend against recruiting.

“I am not opposed to competition, but I truly believe that aggressive recruiting will ultimately be the demise of our channel if we are not careful.”

Broker network heads across the country are now fighting to retain high-performing brokers, even as some competitors deluge those players with telephone calls and emails specifically focused on getting them to defect.

Cameron’s code of conduct would censure that dunning of sorts. It would also give broker networks a vehicle to express their beefs with competitors, although it would not be legally binding.

To some, it suggests that enforcing the code would be challenging.

“You would definitely need everyone’s buy-in on this for it to work,” Paul Bojakli, a partner at Quantus Mortgage Solutions, told “It’s also important to remember that the broker has a role to play in all this. They may not always be telling the (recruiting) broker network that they’re not interested.”

Still, setting up some kind of recruitment framework is key to ensuring the channel's future in both the near- and long-term, said Cameron.

"Our primary concern has to be the viability and longevity of the channel," he told "We have to face the fact that we are losing market share and need all hands on deck to address that."


  • Julia Krause on 2011-10-27 4:29:29 AM

    This is just an opinion, so please don't bite my head off, OK? Speaking from 19 years of experience in the mortgage biz, I believe that people don't quit their company, they quit their boss. If your people are happy, they won't leave you, no matter who tries to steal them. Always keep the lines of communication open with your people.

  • Ontario Broker on 2011-10-27 6:15:21 AM

    Will never fly. The secret to regaining market share is strong, large brokerages that can actually compete with the Banks. It happened in Real Estate, it happened in Insurance, and now it will happen in the Mortgage Broker industry. And how would you even enforce this? The bottom line is, if you don't have a strong value proposition with your company, and someone else has a better one, then Brokers and Agents need to be free to make those choices. Law of the jungle. It's how it works. I'm not even sure I understand how trying to recruit Agents and Brokers from other firms is "unethical." Sorry, I don't think you have a leg to stand on with this issue.

  • Jay on 2011-10-27 6:19:34 AM

    Well said Julia

  • George on 2011-10-27 7:03:33 AM

    Are you kidding me? This is a free economy and capital and human resources will chase the highest return. This is not a school yard where we need to be told 'how to play nice with all the kids'. Give me a break. In this world, you grow or you rot. Look what has happeded to the old powerhouses like MI and INVIS. They are not offering good value to their agents so they should expect to have defections or improve their offerings. This is the way of the world Cameron. If you don't like it, I'm sure you can find some type of Government job somewhere. Godd luck!

  • @kiltedbroker on 2011-10-28 2:25:29 AM

    Julia - I completely agree with you.

    I think you guys are missing the point entirely, this isn't a matter of right or wrong, ethical or unethical, this is a matter of market share.

    As a broker channel we aren't maintaining the market share we have, and the banks sales force is growing year by year. The point is, why are we aggressively recruiting agents from each others brokerages as a means to eat more pie while the size of the entire pie is shrinking? Don't we have better things to do with our time? Recruit all you want, if you don't address the issues that are staring us in the face with respect to market share, you will have a huge brokerage with no business to write!

    Mike is simply saying that "Our primary concern has to be the viability and longevity of the channel" - wait, isn't that a direct quote from the article.

    So regardless of the rules of the jungle and your thoughts about reigning in the school yard bully - look a little deeper and maybe you can figure out what is actually going on here.

  • AB Dan on 2011-10-28 6:49:13 AM

    Well put @kiltedbroker, we are making it so easy for the banks to pick up market share by continually slitting each other's throats on a daily basis. I actually had other brokers try and steal more of my deals than the banks this year. Most of the time, the clients looked online and saw a lower rate that they could not get, were offered a VRM that looked great but they could not debt-service (actually lost a deal to another broker who promissed the VRM and then bait-and-switched to fixed rate at the last minute), or the other broker was willing to buy down the rate. As sad as it is, I'm having to now educate my clients about other brokers as much as I do the banks. I'll say it again, the greed and lack of co-operation within the broker industry is what will be our downfall.

  • Concerned Broker on 2011-10-30 9:33:33 AM

    Mike, why dont you work on our company rather than worry about what everyone else is doing. We are far behind others in technology and i for one would like to see your time working on our internal issues first before you become all holier than thou.

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