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 MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “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 MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “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 MortgageBrokerNews.ca. "We have to face the fact that we are losing market share and need all hands on deck to address that."