ACL versus ACR

Since 1 July 2010, anyone wanting to work as a mortgage broker is required to obtain an Australian Credit Licence (ACL) or become an authorised credit representative (ACR) of a licence holder.

There are huge differences in costs and compliance requirements so which option is right for you?

It’s tough to get an ACL

If you’re just starting out in financial services, you cannot apply for an ACL with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The reason is that you need at least two years finance experience as an authorised rep to be eligible to apply.

You can start broking as an ACR instead!

Most brokers operate under their aggregator’s ACL because of the difficulty in getting approved for a credit licence.

The other issue is the ongoing administrative costs and compliance requirements you need to meet.

This means you need to apply to become a credit rep instead.

However, if you’re a PAYG mortgage broker working for a brokerage that is a credit representative of an aggregator, you don’t need to become an ACR as well.

You’ll automatically be covered by your employer along with the costs.

How do I apply for an ACR?

Before applying for an ACL or to be a credit representative, you need to:

  • Be a member of an external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme (such as the Credit and Investments Ombudsman or the Financial Ombudsman Service).
  • Have been approved for professional indemnity (PI) insurance.
  • Have completed your Certificate IV Finance and Mortgage Broking [FNS40815] and commit to undertaking 20 hours of continuing professional development each year.
  • Have successfully completed a criminal history check successfully.
  • Have successfully completed a credit check.

Your licensee (the ACL holder) will undertake these background checks and provide written consent to you to confirm that you have been accepted as an ACR.

It’s the ACL holder that needs to notify ASIC of the appointment including:

  • The date of authorisation.
  • Your credit representative number.
  • Your name, date and place of birth, or body corporate name and ABN.
  • Your principal business address (and an alternative address if applicable)
  • Details of your EDR scheme membership.

What if you’re self-employed?

If you’re self-employed and operate via a company or trust name, your company or trust will be appointed by your aggregator and you will need an ASIC login.

Your company or trust can then sub-authorise you or other mortgage brokers.

If you’re operating via a trust, ASIC will ignore the trust so just put the trustee company in your application.

You can do this via the ASIC portal for credit licence holders.

Is there any benefit in holding an ACL?

There really is no reason to apply for an ACL unless you’re an aggregator and work with multiple mortgage brokerages.

Whether you hold an ACL or an ACR, it is a legislative requirement only and what you need varies on volume of business that you’re writing.

There is no benefit: in fact, there are considerable costs involved in holding a licence.

What are the costs of applying for an ACL?

The upfront fee will be $512.

The annual compliance fee varies depending on how much you settle in a financial year.

For example, if you’re a sole trader and settle less than $100 million over the financial year, you’ll be charged $512.

This increases to $1,136 for settled loan books in excess of $100 million but less than $200 million.

Please refer to the ACL fee schedule on the ASIC website for more details.

We’re an ACL holder!

Avoid spending thousands on an ACL.

Join an ACL holder instead and starting mortgage broking today.

We’re Australia’s leading specialist mortgage broker and we’re always looking to hire more brokers.

If you would like to know more about the benefits, check out our careers page and send through your resume to careers@homeloanexperts.com.au.