The Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) has accused the ABC and its controversial chief economic reporter Emma Alberici – who was recently criticised by business groups and the Prime Minister over comments about corporate tax – of misrepresenting the qualifications of finance brokers, saying she owes the thousands of hard working brokers across the country an apology.

During an episode of the clearly inappropriately named “Matter of Fact” hosted by Stan Grant, Alberici claimed that “anyone can set themselves up as a mortgage broker, even a gym owner”, as she confused a bank’s “introducer program” with professional mortgage brokers.

FBAA executive director Peter White said finance brokers work within a very strict regulatory environment and all brokers must have at least a Cert IV in Financial Services (Finance and Mortgage broking), though many have higher degrees, be mentored for two years and continue ongoing training.

“Entry into this industry could be described in a way like a traineeship, where brokers receive a combination of theory and formal training, plus guidance and on-the-job training, as well as ongoing development for their entire career.

“As those within the industry are aware, training never stops, and in fact is mandatory for brokers to meet their regulatory and association requirements.”

He said the banking royal commission has focused on some introducers and brokers in its first few days, but it is ignorant and unprofessional for any journalist to imply that a few people who do the wrong thing represent the entire broking sector, or that the industry is not professional and skilled.

“The media must be careful how they report from the commission, and the FBAA will not stand by and allow finance brokers to be misrepresented.

“Unfortunately like in any industry there are a very small minority of people who do the wrong thing, but the fact that we see brokers losing their legal right to practise is a sign of regulation that works.

“It’s a sign that people should have confidence in the broking sector.”

Mr White said the ABC should publicly correct the record and apologise.