The differences between a Mortgage Agent and Mortgage Broker are fairly straight forward, and do not affect the ability to serve clients.
There are 5 main differences between Agents and Brokers: Title, License class, Educational focus, Supervision ability, and the ability to become a Principal Broker/ Brokerage owner.
The title difference between the 2 classifications is the most obvious of all, but can cause the most confusion. The province of Ontario and more specifically the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) formally know as the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) made the decision to create the Mortgage Agent license class to ensure that the Agents are supervised by a more experienced Broker. Agents have the choice as to whether they want to update their license class to Broker or not when they are able to, and it is not mandatory to continue to serve their clients (as long as they maintain their current license.).
The class difference between the 2 licenses are strictly based on supervisory capability and general experience. A Mortgage Broker has the ability to supervise Mortgage Agents and provide guidance to them. In many cases, brokerages have policies and procedures that indicates what activities a Mortgage Agent must seek assistance from their supervising Broker.
While Mortgage Agents and Mortgage Brokers are educated on the same topics in terms of mortgage products and the ability to complete the work for their clients, the educational focus for Mortgage Brokers is heavily focused on the supervision of Mortgage Agents.
In relation to the educational difference between the 2 license classes, and as previously mentioned, a Mortgage Broker has the ability to supervise and direct the actions of Mortgage Agents.
Ability to Become a Principal Broker/ Brokerage Owner:
The final main difference between the 2 licenses is the ability to own and operate a brokerage. A Principal Broker must hold a Broker class license to start, own, or operate a brokerage.
The differences between the license are mainly internal to brokerages, and based in provincial mandate. Mortgage Agents are more than capable to serve their clients as effectively as Mortgage Brokers, and gain value on a daily basis from their supervising brokers.