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May 2018






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In the chair

48 58

Natasha Hawker

62 66 70


With Jan Kirstein


Change is essential

BMW X3 Redefining its segment


Rising up with professional development

Lender news

Work smarter, not harder

Andrew Griffiths

How easy do you make it for people to sell you?

A bullet-proof interview process

Road test Mini John Cooper Works GP Concept

Give up the need to be right

Bernard Desmond Man with the $50m plan

FBAA EVENTS Summit locations and dates

feature story


25 years of the FBA

How the FBAA bega it’s evolved over a qu of a century


EDITOR & HEAD OF CONTENT Peter White MANAGING EDITOR Krystal Camilleri STAFF WRITER Rachel Licciardello CREATIVE DESIGN & PHOTOGRAPHY Jodi Kite Matthew Gianoulis Krystal Camilleri


ADVERTISING Krystal Camilleri


TELL US WHAT YOU THINK We appreciate hearing from readers. If you have feedback, news or have a story idea you would like us to cover, please contact us using the below details

an and how uarter

NEWS, ADVERTISING AND ADMINISTRATION e: editor@fbaa.com.au p: 07 4721 1174 w: www.fbaa.com.au

cover story


Vernon Spencer

on pioneering mortgage broking in Australia and the key to longevity

All information and images are subject to copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior permission in writing to the Finance Brokers Association of Australia Limited. The views and opinions of the authors and advertisers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information at the time of publishing, the publisher accepts no responsibility or liability for errors, omissions or subsequent consequences including loss or damage from reliance on information in this publication.


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In The Chair with Jan Kirstein


e’re going through a unique time in the broking industry at the moment. As each of you is already well aware, the Australian Government last year ordered the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into competition within the Australian financial system. We’re now into the thick of it, with the draft report released in February and the final report expected July 2018. The Productivity Commission has revealed itself to be a potential risk to our industry, largely because of misinformation. The draft report was disgracefully inaccurate regarding brokers, and you may have read Peter White’s comments in The Adviser, or through our member communications. The draft report bizarrely offered recommendations that already exist under legislation or are part of the Combined Industry Forum’s reform package. Add to this, the many mixed messages from socalled experts, circulating through the media, and the fingers pointing blame at brokers unjustly. Rest assured though, we have a 24-7 vigil on what’s going on, and we have been responding to misinformation as issues arise. We are using our contacts and networks to make sure accurate information reaches the desks of decision-makers. This is something we have been doing this since before the royal commission began, however, our activity now is more important than ever.


It is our view, and evidence, that brokers have assisted the industry by creating competition which benefits the customer. Such examples are redraws, offset accounts and lines of credit against a residential house, which would not exist today had it not been for the competition generated by brokers. The FBAA is the true representative of the finance broking industry. We are focused on, and motivated by, protecting the interests of brokers and upholding the integrity of the industry. Maintain your trust in us; we will not hold back from promoting the truth on behalf of brokers. We will keep you updated as we move towards the June 2018 release of the Productivity Commission’s final report.

Jan Kirstein Chairman, Director, Life Member

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To say the FBAA is currently experiencing a “busy” period is an understatement, but with action usually comes change. This year, as the FBAA celebrates 25 years, the association will focus on evolution for which change is essential. With a heavy focus on the regulatory environment, planning for the 2018 FBAA National Industry Conference, Gala Dinner and Awards of Supremacy, and of course continued improvements to the FBAA’s Professional Summits, industry evolution is always front of mind for the association.



Change is essential



Change is essential EXERCISING OUR VOICE

Recently, the FBAA has been, and continues to be, considerably active in the regulatory space. There is, of course, the Productivity Commission that’s sent the industry into a spin, the Royal Commission shining a big spotlight on the banks, and of course the constant stream of proposals for potential changes to industry that come from our regulators. In March, I represented industry at the hearing with the Productivity Commissioner to express the broker viewpoint and also clear up misinformation that was presented in the February draft report. We are working overtime to ensure FBAA members, and the broking industry as a whole, are strongly represented. We’ve put submissions to each the Productivity Commission and the Royal Commission, and supplied additional research to communicate our standing. I’ve also met with various Ministers to have our concerns heard. Currently, we have 14 open workflows that we’re working through with regulators; with each being a major undertaking. To put that into perspective, normally we would have three to five open workflows at any one time. To call this period “busy” would be an obvious understatement! I will continue to update you via our member newsletter, summits and of course this publication.



We know that across the finance broking industry, around 50% of new-to-industry brokers will leave broking by 18 months. Various reasons and influences come into play here of course. However, as the market-leading industry body, we have been investigating ways to understand the challenges new brokers face, retain new brokers and help them realise success. Our professional summits are an obvious platform to deliver valuable training and guidance, and so in the coming rounds of summits (second half of 2018), we will introduce new educational content. This content aims to deliver training in specific areas of lending, to help you write more business. This is in addition to the business coaching segments within the summits. We are elevating our business support – offered to FBAA members for free – to help both new and existing brokers. Early data suggests that the statistic of 50% has already started turning around since last year. We see our summits as being able to have a positive impact on you, our members, and on the industry.


The FBAA National Industry Conference has been announced for Friday 16 November, again at Sea World Resort, Gold Coast. This year’s theme is Evolution. Considering the FBAA’s evolution over the past 25 years, it’s a fitting theme that will look to our industry’s future and how we need to be agile as brokers, members and an industry as a whole. Our National Industry Conference has become the largest in the country, and this year we expect to again host more than 1,000 attendees. We continue to lift the benchmark with our conference, with quality exhibitors, invaluable networking, and we are currently sourcing industry-leading national and international speakers. The conference will of course be followed by the FBAA Gala Dinner & Awards of Supremacy (this year at Movie World), and the official after-party hosted by Firstmac.


This year, the FBAA celebrates 25 years of supporting you, our members, and the finance broking industry as a whole. It’s a major milestone, and one we dive into deeper within this publication. This year also marks a milestone for me, as I will enter my 40th year in the industry come October. I think back to when I started in the industry in the late 1970s and just how much our working days

have evolved. I worked in the lending area in the early 1980s, and we had to type – using a typewriter – our mortgage and loan contracts; and we couldn’t make mistakes (I made plenty), because there was no corrective ink. If a mistake was made, we would rip it out and start again. I also have vivid memories of going to what was the Narrabeen Rifle Range to practice firing the little Browning pistol we kept at the bank. In the early ‘80s, when

we ran out of money at the bank we would have to order cash and collect from another bank branch. We would make arrangements for a police escort, and carry the little Browning handgun. How times have changed. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I often reflect on the saying: No one said it would be easy, just that it would be worthwhile. It isn’t easy what we do in this industry, but it’s certainly worthwhile.

Peter White

Executive Director




In 2003 BMW launched the first X3, and with that a new segment of premium mid-sized Sports Activity Vehicles was developed. Now in its third generation, the BMW X3 features an even more striking design, with a suite of advanced safety features to back up its dynamic capability. 13

The BMW X3 commands the road with its striking exterior

BMW SAVs are renowned for their impeccable combination of versatility and practicality, whilst remaining a compelling drive, and the all-new X3 is no different. The BMW X3 is a vehicle for every occasion, boasting a premium on-road presence combined with genuine off-road prowess. The supreme drive can be attributed to its ideal 50:50 weight distribution, light-weight construction and impressive aerodynamics. The BMW X3 newest generation was launched in November 2017 with three engine variants; two diesels and one petrol. The xDrive20d showcases the new-generation BMW TwinPower Turbo 2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine, which is impressively responsive whilst remaining fuel efficient and low in emissions. It has an output of 140 kW and 400 Nm of torque, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.0 seconds. The xDrive30d is powered by the new-generation BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder diesel engine, with a 3.0-litre capacity that boasts outstanding output, power and reaction as well as low fuel consumption. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds, it produces 195 kW of power and an impressive 620 Nm of torque.

All variants showcase distinct driver-orientated interiors with advanced infotainment systems and safety equipment. The layout is modern and spacious, with the same sleek, intuitive design and innovative technology that has trickled down from the latest generation BMW 5 and 7 Series. Class-leading infotainment system, in the form of BMW’s iDrive6, is a particular highlight. The high resolution 10-inch touchscreen is customisable, depending on one’s requirements. An even further refined system of BMW’s Connected+ allows for seamless integration between personal devices and the vehicle. Advanced driver assistance systems further support the driver for a more comfortable and safer drive. Available within the range is the Steering and Lane Control Assistant, Lane Keeping Assistant with collision prevention as well as Priority Warning, Cross-traffic Warning and Active Cruise Control with Stop&Go function. Practicality and functionality is further enhanced with ability for the rear seats to be folded independently in a 40:20:40 configuration, all of which is operated by the remote rear backseat release. This creates the ample and impressive storage amount of up to 1,600 litres.

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The BMW X3 commands the road with its striking exterior developed by Australia’s own Calvin Lux. The vehicle exudes power and command with an exterior silhouette that fuses refined sophistication with sporty accents – the underpinnings of the X3’s dynamic ability.

Standard within the range is the intelligent BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system that combines impressive traction, directional stability and driving safety to deliver classic BMW agility and performance, regardless of road surface.

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Professional development is key to helping brokers stay competitive in a dynamic market. PLAN Australia CEO Anja Pannek discusses her group’s innovative approach to helping brokers grow and provide great customer outcomes.


Aggregator news

Rising up



Rising up This is a pivotal time for the broking industry, marked by intense competition, technological advancements and regulatory change. Professional development has never been more important, and there is opportunity for us as an industry to come together to continually raise the bar, enhancing the value customers gain from brokers.

Supporting the industry’s evolution One of the key recommendations from ASIC addressed the risk of reduced competition and poor customer outcomes arising from soft-dollar benefits, including professional development and education.

The Combined Industry Forum (CIF) response to ASIC’s recommendations incorporated a clear focus on the ongoing importance of professional development. It promotes equal access to different learning formats and a substantive level of educational content at events. In fact, the CIF considers education and professional development for brokers not as rewards, but as essential to driving competency and improved customer outcomes. This is a great position for us, as an industry, to work towards, and one that I wholly support.


Broking is a profession, and professional education and development is key to helping brokers to increase their knowledge, run successful businesses and provide great customer outcomes. While training and development have long been a firm focus for PLAN Australia, we have been investing in our program significantly over the past two years to ensure our brokers are well prepared for the future.

A Global Perspective

PLAN Australia has been putting greater emphasis on the educational components and business content of our events for a number of years now.

PLAN Australia is also continually looking for innovative and exciting new ways for brokers to stay on top of industry trends and best practice, both locally and globally. As an example, this year we launched an industry-first opportunity for brokers to further their strategic business expertise. In January, 15 of our brokers began a six-month tailored learning program, which commenced with a week-long course at the Stanford University in California. The US trip created a unique opportunity for brokers to learn from global business experts at one of the world’s most prestigious

business schools, on topics such as business innovation, strategies for scaling and effective leadership. The feedback we have received from brokers who attended Stanford has been fantastic and in the coming months these brokers will benefit from peer forums and implementation support to imbed any insights back into their businesses.

Creating connections

We know peer-to-peer and lender-to-broker engagements are really important for our brokers, so we ensure our professional

development includes a variety of face-to-face opportunities. At the same time, we understand time is precious, and so we provide many opportunities for our members to connect on topics in a really time basis, without the need for them to leave their offices. Our recent Commercial and Asset Finance Digital professional development day, delivered in high definition (see planaustralia.tv) is a clear example of this. We are also running frequent webinars on key industry topics, such as regulation and lender

product changes, giving our members direct access to connect with our lender partners. There is no doubt our industry is and will continue to go through significant change. PLAN Australia is committed to leading the way in professional development and our brokers are demonstrating a real appetite for new ways to learn. We will continue to invest in our professional development program to ensure our members thrive into the future.

Anja Pannek

Chief Executive Officer


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For those who take the leap, the process of starting a business is like nothing else you’ve done before. Finstro’s Kimberly Noonan looks at the rate of business failure in Australia and how you can prevent your business from becoming a statistic.



Work smarter, not harder



Work smarter, not harder

“The most valuable thing we have as business owners, founders or managers is our time, and deciding where best to spend it can make or break your dreams for growth and success.”

Thousands of businesses in Australia fail each year. Why? According to ASIC, the number one reason is inadequate cash flow management. Don’t let that impact your clients though. In the age of technology, there are simple solutions available at your fingertips – literally.

for many businesses, particularly in the early years. It’s saddening to realise this is the number one reason businesses fail (closely followed by poor strategic management). Worse still, technology advancements mean cash flow management is more streamlined than ever before – there are simple-to-use cash flow management solutions available to your business clients at their fingertips, literally.

payment reminders and offers real time cashflow forecasting.

In the financial year 2015/16, external administrators lodged 9,465 reports with ASIC, citing the major cause of failure for companies was inadequate cash flow or high cash use. This reason was cited in 4,318 reports, or 46% of all reports.

Finstro, an Australian software company, is one such example. The founders of Finstro recognised that business owners were struggling with managing cash flow efficiently and quickly and developed software that syncs to their MYOB or Xero account and keeps track of their unpaid debtors, lets them run credit checks, automates

Designed by business owners for business owners, Finstro is a comprehensive online platform to give entrepreneurs more time and better data, from which to make more informed cash management decisions.

It’s clear that cash flow management is a genuine issue


Gone are the days of manually managing customers, suppliers, payments and complex cashflow spreadsheets; chasing late paying customers whilst dodging calls from overdue suppliers. Today business owners can manage their cashflow, customers and suppliers using clever software, anywhere and anytime.

After all, the most valuable thing we have as business owners, founders or managers is our time,

and deciding where best to spend it can make or break dreams for growth and success. Starting a business is often said to be one of the most rewarding experiences in life; but before jumping into the jungle, people should set themselves up for

success. Safeguard your client’s idea and their business from the unexpected with proper cashflow management. Help them avoid becoming a statistic whilst growing your own business and diversifying your income streams through our generous commission scheme at the same time.

To discover how Finstro can help you support your clients, visit Finstro’s website www.finstro.com.au or phone (02) 9056 9757

Kimberly Noonan Marketing Manager

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25 25 years Celebration



25 years Celebration



his year marks the FBAA’s silver anniversary – 25 years of elevating the finance broking industry and giving brokers a voice. We look back at the association’s earnest beginning and the motivation that has remained at its core from day one. Once regarded as a Queensland Country Boys’ Club, the FBAA has spent the past 25 years carving a name for itself as the professional voice for brokers – ‘run by brokers for brokers,’ as one of the association’s mottos read from the late ‘90s into the 2000s. Today, the association supports over 8,200 members throughout the country. It delivers professional development, educational training and business coaching to uphold the standards of its practitioners, and advocates for brokers when and where it matters. It also presents Australia’s largest finance industry event each year – the FBAA National Industry Conference. To set the scene for the association’s conception, it was 1992, in Brisbane Queensland, where brokers’ frustrations had boiled over at a lack of professional standard across the industry. “There was no licencing at all,” recalls Chris Szigeti, current FBAA Vice Chairman of the Board and IDR Chairman, co-owner of Mortgages Can Do and CSA Finance, and a founding member of the association. “Anyone could become a broker in Queensland and there were, for want of a better word, cowboys in the industry.” Originally from Victoria where a finance broker’s licence was required to practice, Chris found the patchwork of state regulations vexing. “Several brokers got together in July 1992 in a little church hall in Bowen Hills, about half a dozen of us in total. We wanted to do something. We contacted other brokers within our networks and had a second, bigger meeting – and that’s where it all started.”


In that little church hall in Bowen Hills, the cohort formed the FBAQ – the Finance Brokers Association of Queensland. Chris says each founding member tipped in $50, with one member, highly regarded international businessman Geoff Thomas AO, throwing a few more dollars into the pot to get the association off the ground in 1993. Since that first meeting, the motivation for the FBAA has remained the same. “We are here to maintain a level of professionalism for the industry, put something back into the industry, and be a strong advocate for brokers – big and little, many of whom were writing loans from their kitchen tables and needed a voice,” says Chris. That motivation remains to this day. The FBAA has built its reputation as the voice of the finance brokers. In fact, the stand out evolution of the FBAA has been the association’s status within the industry. “The people who make the decisions for our industry – ASIC, Treasury, parliamentarians – they now come to us for our insights,

opinions and submissions on various items,” says Chris. “From that, they then understand our industry a little better and how we physically operate, and can write policy with brokers in mind.”

“Change is inevitable; we can’t stop change, but we can be part of the process…” – STEPHEN RASMUSSEN

FBAA Chairman Jan Kirstein, and Principal of GreenLight Home Loans, agrees: “The FBAA is now recognised by government and our regulators as being the true representative of the broking industry.” When Jan first began broking in 1996, the FBAA was still in its infancy. “I started my business in 1998 in Townsville, and found there weren’t many lenders coming up here; it was still a new industry and there was a lot of learning yet to happen. We were frustrated with no training and no product information. I called a meeting with my competitors,


and we formed a local committee under another association,” recalls Jan. “While we did get a few things on the go, I found that that particular association’s focus was on lenders more than anything else. I looked around, came across the FBAA, and saw that it was more focused on broker needs.” Jan joined the FBAA in 2002 as the North Queensland representative, and since then has held various positions as National President, Director and Chairman of the Board in recent years. In 2013 he was made a FBAA Life Member. “I believe we’ve had great impact on how the industry has developed, for the better; we have always pushed back at things we believed were not good for brokers,” says Jan.

in the CEO role membership sat around 1,000. Today the FBAA supports more than 8,200 brokers with memberships still growing strongly. “The attraction for many is the real-life practical knowledge and experience we have in the industry,” says Peter, “and that the FBAA does not take in major banks as corporate sponsors which enables us to hold independent control of our own voice in the marketplace.” Add to this the free training and business coaching events, the high-level of advocacy on issues impacting the broking sector, and the respect the FBAA has within the industry. Peter says this has been no accident, the FBAA’s status has been achieved through sheer hard work and persistence.

“We are here to maintain a level of professionalism for the industry, put something back into the industry, and be a strong advocate for brokers – big and little, many of whom were writing loans from their kitchen tables and needed a voice.” – CHRIS SZIGETI “We have set a lot of trends within the industry, and within the associations, and we’re working more collaboratively with other associations than ever before. Over the years we’ve had pressures to merge with another association, which we always pushed back against. To use an analogy, if you merged Coles and Woolworths, what would happen to prices?” Since the late 2000s, the FBAA has experienced accelerated growth. FBAA Executive Director Peter White says he started with the FBAA as NSW State President in 2003 when there were a couple of hundred members nationally. The association grew and in 2010 when Peter stepped


“There are a lot of people who are up in arms over today’s issues, but we’re the ones unreservedly out there taking on those concerns at the top end of town – taking the bull by its horns,” says Peter. “It’s about quality, not quantity,” continues Peter. “We don’t have the highest number of industry members, albeit the difference in real practitioner broker numbers is small, but our quality of professional members and market position exceeds any competition. We have relevant market positioning, government positioning, regulatory positioning, industry recognition as to leading space in public voice and support of brokers.

We’ve received front page news in the Financial Review this year. We’ve grown our conference from 150 people in its first year (2012) to 1,000 people attending in 2017. No one can deny the achievements the FBAA has had.” Stephen Rasmussen, FBAA Board Member and Audit & Risk Committee Chair, and Managing Director at Tailored Lending Concepts, agrees. “The FBAA is the most relevant, the most proactive industry association in the market.” Having joined the industry in 1995, following an exit from the banking sector, Stephen says the FBAA has been integral in elevating the professional standards of the broking industry. “As the industry has grown, there have been evolutions with the NCCP, the compliance, the licencing; there’s a continuous drive to raise the standards of behaviour, the methods of behaviour, codes of practice,” says Stephen. “The FBAA has been very conscious and deliberate about supporting the members that want to improve themselves, do the best by their client, do the best by the industry.” Behind the scenes, the nine FBAA board members, 16 employees, five State Presidents and 27 Councillors will continue pushing to ensure brokers’ voice is heard in media, by government and within the industry. Kim Szigeti, Board Member, Company Secretary and Director of Policies, and coowner of Mortgages Can Do, has been in the broking industry 23 years and was the first female appointed to the board, in 2015. “The FBAA board is very hands-on. We don’t turn up once a month, say ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ then leave. When we’re approaching a meeting, I clear three days for reading.”

“It’s one way we are able to reach members nationwide.” The FBAA sees the immediate and future challenges the industry faces. Encouraging more women into the finance broking industry, creating an attractive student pathway into broking, continuously elevating the professional standard of the industry, and supporting members through the early years of business are all on the agenda, many with programs or initiatives either already rolled out or underway. The Royal Commission and Productivity Commission are keeping the entire industry on its toes. And as a formation member of the Combined Industry Forum the FBAA is working with other stakeholders in shaping the industry’s future, and the FBAA will continue to work with members through any reforms. “It’s the members who have helped build the industry to this level,” says Stephen. “As an industry association, the FBAA is only as strong as its members. If we don’t stay true to our members and our vision, we won’t stay around long. “Change is inevitable; we can’t stop change,” points out Stephen, “but we can be part of the process by engaging with government, media and other players in the industry – and that’s what the FBAA does exceptionally well.” How has the finance broking industry changed in your eyes? Share your perspective with us on Facebook or email editor@fbaa.com.au We welcome stories, memories and insights from the past 25 years, as we build our archive and celebrate the FBAA and our industry’s history.

Kim echoes the founding members’ sentiments that first meeting in the church hall. “We’re all here for a shared reason – the brokers. We are, and always have been, brokers for brokers. It’s our industry. “It’s wonderful what our State Presidents and Councillors do,” says Kim, “they help set up events, they bring new ideas, they voice the issues and concerns of brokers within their state.



25 YEARS AGO In 1993 the median house price in Sydney was $188,000

Celebrating 25 Years of Australian Brokers 32

Brokers, your privacy act obligations just got a whole lot harder Insurance Advisernet talks us through the changes and the charges for a breach. Following the implementation of the Notifiable Data Beaches Scheme (NDBS) legislation on 22 February 2018, the obligations that Finance and Mortgage Brokers owe under the Privacy Act are now more onerous than ever!   The bottom line is that brokers now must notify any individuals likely to be at risk of serious harm by a data breach, which is defined as a device containing personal information being lost or stolen, a data base containing personal information being hacked or personal information being mistakenly provided to the wrong person.

This notification must be made as soon as practicable. You also have to advise the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and it must also include details of the remedial action you are taking to minimise the impact of the breach – failure to do so can result in fines of up to $360,000 for an individual and $1.8m for an organisation.   Obviously, for most brokers, they simply will not have the resources, both financially and administratively, to cope with such an event.   Many may think they would have some form of coverage under their Professional Indemnity (PI) policies for this but they would be mistaken. PI policies, as a

rule, are only triggered when a third party makes a demand for compensation for financial loss as a result of your negligent and/ or wrongful act in the course of performing your professional services; so, a suspected data breach would most likely not fall into this category.        Fortunately though for clients insured with Insurance Advisernet’s Finance Brokers PI Plus, there is automatic $50,000 cover for Cyber Attack / Data Breach Notification Expenses and an additional $100,000 cover for Fines & Penalties – all free of charge.   Is your PI Policy due soon? Contact Insurance Advisernet for a no-obligation quotation.


How Easy Do You Make It for People to Sell You, and What You Do?

by Andrew Griffiths If you make it too hard to figure out, they can’t sell you. There are two kinds of businesses: those that are easy to explain and those that seemingly are not. The business that is easily explained is also easy to be sold. For example, a friend of mine owns a great seafood restaurant; it’s very easy to refer him and his business because people know what I’m talking about the second I tell them the kind of restaurant he has. But I’ve got another friend who has an outwardly straightforward business, as a financial advisor, but it’s really hard to describe what he does. He never seems able to articulate it, always turning something simple into something


long and convoluted, because he doesn’t want to be called a financial advisor. That makes it almost impossible to refer him, even though he is really good at what he does.

“The business that is easily explained is also easy to be sold.” Years back when I had a marketing company, I became known as the ‘Marketing Fella’. When I wrote a book about marketing, my title was firmly

established. Interestingly enough, I was generally referred new clients by people who had little to no idea what marketing was, or the services I offered. But they knew I was the ‘Marketing Fella’, and the minute the word marketing entered any conversation, they knew I was the right man for the job. In other words, it was really easy for them to sell me and promote me. Hence my entire business was built on simple, word of mouth referrals, over many years. So, my question to you is, “How easy do you make it for people to sell you?” Are you known for something in particular? Do you explain to potential referrers what it is that you actually do?

International Bestselling Author & Speaker

Do you keep it really simple? Or do you take great pleasure in being mysterious because you are convinced that your business is so complicated that it can’t possibly be explained in one short sentence? If you do, you will always struggle to get people referring you. I ask my coaching clients a very simple question, “How do I sell you?” If they can’t answer this question, then they are asking for trouble. As soon as you make it easy for others to describe what you do, even if it feels mundane, their endorsement is what does

the selling. So, you might be an accountant that specialises in helping small businesses to reduce their tax. This is pretty common, nothing magical or mysterious about this offering, so it makes this accountant easy to describe or easy to sell. How compelling I am with my referral is what will actually make a potential customer turn into a buyer.

I always come back to the simple point that if you make it easy for people to sell you, they will. Be able to describe what you do in a way that they will understand, even if they don’t know in detail what that actually means.

Now ideally, you come up with an even better description than simply being an accountant that helps small businesses to reduce tax but don’t make it mysterious mumbojumbo that no one can figure out.




Is your business

mentally healthy? There is no magic formula to creating a mentally healthy workplace; but there are, however, some useful steps that can help improve your business by supporting your employees’ wellbeing.


PwC research shows businesses will receive an average return of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective

workplace mental health strategies. Georgie Harman, beyondblue

“When it comes to mental health, in the workplace and beyond, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach,” says Institute of Managers and Leaders (IML) Chief Executive David Pich. “Each organisation needs a tailored mental health strategy that considers everything about their staff in and outside of their work. Some organisations don’t act because they feel this task is too large and daunting and don’t know where to start.” This is why IML and beyondblue took their Leadership Outlook series around the country earlier this year. The 1,500 participants, across 18 locations, were given evidence-based practical advice regarding the promotion, risk-management and support mechanisms available to businesses wanting to create mental health strategies. Importantly, the events revealed how local businesses can develop realistic and tailored mental health plans in workplaces of different sizes, structures and industries. beyondblue Chief Executive Georgie Harman said the series gave business leaders an important starting point. “With one-fifth of Australia’s workforce affected by a mental health condition at any one time, it is heartening to see leaders taking these issues seriously,” says Georgie. “A mentally healthy workforce can increase productivity and is more engaged. PwC research shows businesses will receive an average return of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies. “Employers are increasingly concerned about the wellbeing of their employees and are mindful of the important role mental health strategies can play in a workplace. Participants of the Leadership Outlook series are now returning to their businesses equipped with the knowledge required to develop mental health plans for all staff, which is an exciting outcome.”


beyondblue’s Engagement Managers led attendees through the steps required to develop a realistic action plan for their organisation.


Key steps included:

Step 1: Gain Leadership Support Change must start at the top in any organisation. Leaders are crucial in driving mental health policies and practices and can influence workplace culture and employees’ experiences.

Step 2: Assess the current situation It is important to get a good understanding of what you are already doing and where you can improve. This can mean reviewing relevant data and collecting anecdotal information.

Step 3: Create a plan

This four-step strategy was presented at Leadership Outlook events around the country. Attendees were encouraged to use processes on beyondblue’s Heads Up website and to follow the steps in beyondblue’s publication ‘Developing a workplace mental health strategy: A guide for organisations.’ Reflecting on the events’ popularity and positive feedback received across the country, David Pich said, “After the overwhelming success of 18 mental health workshops over the past two months, the Leadership Outlook series has shown us this: Australian businesses are ready to take real action in their workplaces to support their staff’s mental health. Doing nothing is no longer an option. “Leadership Outlook is just the beginning of a fundamental cultural shift in how we deal with mental health in the workplace and in society.” For resources and tips from Leadership Outlook, please visit headsup.org.au

The action plan should always take an integrated approach to mental health, balancing the three areas of promotion, protection and support. When developing a plan, organisations are encouraged to take 12 key actions. Implementing the following steps over time will lead to the best results: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Improve understanding of mental health Address mental health risks and protective factors Foster an anti-bullying culture Promote positive mental health and wellbeing Ensure job roles are clear Monitor how employees carry out their tasks Create a quality physical working environment Acknowledge the importance of work/life balance Insist on sound people-management practices Combat mental health stigma Support employees who have mental health conditions Help prevent suicide

Step 4: Monitor, review and improve See how you are tracking and measure the effectiveness of your initiatives. Plan your review processes before you start implementing any actions.



lways ahead of the game, Vernon Spencer has been one of the most influential and highly respected names in mortgage broking since he pioneered the industry in 1972. He started the securitisation of the true non-bank sector, introduced RMBS, and was a fintech pioneer before ‘fintech’ as a sector had even been minted. He’s an accountant by trade, an innovator by nature and an entrepreneur at heart. We look back at how Vernon helped shape the mortgage industry we know today. 40



With a fascination for science fiction, Vernon Spencer has always been intrigued by what the future might hold. The past is out of our control, the present is already happening, but the future is teeming with possibility. In 1972 Vernon established Stargate Corporation Group which remains his family’s holding company to this day, and his various other business names over the decades – Interstar, Flexstar, Starship – have reflected his sci-fi interest. His Melbourne office is adorned with full-sized models of sci-fi icons Darth Vader, C3P0, R2D2, Yoda; “the pièce de résistance” is a full-size X-Wing, which, of course, is kept in an aircraft hangar. As an accountant in 1972, it’s fair to say that Vernon could not have imagined Stargate’s interests 46 years later would be split between home loans and technology innovations. After all, when Stargate was created, Vernon had not yet even gotten involved with mortgage broking in this country. Today, Stargate provides a broad range of specialist mortgage underwriting, processing and management services, and a growing technology division through its various subsidiaries, with Vernon’s latest product being an online home loan (home delivered of course).


Vernon’s now recognised as an industry leader and innovator, and has received countless awards and prestige since the 1970s. In November 2017, he was named the inaugural FBAA Hall of Fame Award recipient. We asked Vernon to take us back to the beginning.


Growing up in Melbourne, Vernon says he learned the fundamentals from his father. “My father was in the rag trade all his life, having his own businesses, and was quite successful,” says Vernon. “He was a bit of a workaholic, like yours truly, and my sons too I might add. He and my Mum gave me a great childhood; that had nothing to do with money. Dad instilled in me many of the important characteristics that people should stick to – be honest, have integrity in business, family comes first always.” As a child of 10, Vernon’s father would have him mentally add up his stock sheets – 40-50 items per page, handwritten, and often with intentional inaccuracies to test his son. At around 13 years old, Vernon had to choose between a science or commerce stream for his studies at Brighton Grammar. “I asked Dad – and remember, this was the mid-1950s when no one could even spell the word ‘technology’ – and he said, ‘if you take the commerce stream, irrespective of whatever happens in your life, the world will always need bookkeepers’.”


Vernon studied at Melbourne University; spent seven years at a large accounting firm (which was the predecessor to KPMG), and just this year he received his 50-year pin from the Institute of Chartered Accountants. “It was from those early days that the basic requirements we today take for granted in business were drummed into me: care, attention, accuracy and honesty.” From there, Vernon went to a Chrysler dealership where he met his wife Denise. His time at Chrysler was brief, due to company policy dictating Vernon and Denise could not date. So, they left the dealership, got married and toured Australia in their Chrysler car before returning to Melbourne and establishing Stargate Corporation Group.


In 1972, Vernon, then an accountant at stockbroking firm Randall and Co, was contacted by a client seeking assistance with a home loan. “At that stage, I had a college education so I could spell the word ‘mortgage,’ and I’d gotten a mortgage for the first time when we were married, but that’s about all I knew about it.” Not wanting to decline help, Vernon put the client in contact with the firm’s solicitor and thought not much more of it. Months later Vernon received a letter from the solicitor thanking

“I wasn’t sure if it would just be a flash in the pan, or if something was there. The ad virtually said, ‘Money available. Call Vernon.’”




him for introducing the client, and with a 1% procuration fee attached – which was a tidy $680 for the $68,000 loan. Realising there was a potential market opportunity, Vernon spoke to the firm’s partners to get support to run an ad in the Melbourne Age newspaper. “I wasn’t sure if it would just be a flash in the pan, or if something was there. The ad virtually said, ‘Money available. Call Vernon.’”

secondary mortgage market. “I thought, ‘why can’t people invest in a mortgage loan in the same way as, say, a Commonwealth Bond?’ So, we created an instrument called ‘AnnieMae Mortgage Backed Certificate,’ a mortgage debt security which was the forerunner of the RMBS.” After working with Victorian regulators, the first mortgage-backed certificate was issued in June 1979. Vernon still has a copy of it today.

backed securities here in Australia, so we began placing bonds overseas.” In June 2001, Interstar was sold as a going concern, together with Vernon and all his team, to a consortium which included global insurer Zurich. In 2003 it was onsold to Challenger, then in 2008 sold to NAB which re-named it to Advantedge.


And call, they did. “I was inundated on the phone with people wanting money. Inundated! Literally, the phone didn’t stop.” From that ad in 1972, Vernon began mortgage broking, and the rest is history.


Under the Randall and Co firm, Vernon connected borrower clients with a panel of lender solicitors, which grew into a substantial business and he became a partner in the firm. “As that business grew, we realised we were really doing asset management. Which is what the business is all about, originating mortgage loans for investors and then managing those assets, which is what we still do today.” In 1978, Vernon was responsible for the first issue of residential mortgage-backed securities in Australia and the beginning of the


In 1980, Vernon co-founded the Mortgage Bankers Association Australia, to give the mortgage broking industry a platform for networking, education and government liaison. “The public perception of mortgage brokers at that time – not today of course – was a step up from used car dealers. I said, ‘Look, we are professional. We’re providing borrowers with assistance for getting a home loan, and we’re bringing lenders together.” Vernon’s businesses continued to grow through the ‘80s, and into ‘90s. In 1991 he founded Interstar Securities, which became one of Australia’s largest nonbank wholesale loan financiers. “In about ’97, ’98, we found we were outstripping the amount of investor demand for our mortgage

“That really provided us with a significant amount of our capital to grow to our current businesses,” says Vernon. Three months later, 9/11 shook the global economy – “it was an absolutely horrific event, as we all remember,” recalls Vernon. From that though, Stargate emerged with one of Vernon’s most memorable successes. “In September 2001, 10 days after the tragedy, we were, according to Bloomberg in London, and the Wall Street Journal, the very first issuer in the world of any form of debt securities,” shares Vernon. “I think the headline was something like, ‘Aussies have a go’. “The articles reported we had weathered the aftershocks of the terrorist attacks in the US to launch a very large mortgagebacked deal. It said, ‘the $1 billion-dollar Interstar Millennium



Series Trust was, (at that time), the biggest RMBS security ever issued in the Australian domestic market’. For us, a privately-held family business, that was quite astounding.”


When Interstar sold, Vernon realised the world was changing and technology was the future. He had already been using technology since 1995 to assist with processing (online loan applications and approvals) and customer relationship management. His eldest son Jason had established the technology side of Interstar, which Vernon says had been “unusually successful”. So Vernon invested in developing and growing the application of IT to the Australian mortgage industry, under Stargate Technologies, then run by two of Vernon’s sons, Brett and Scott. Some developments were “the equivalent of shrink wrap” while others were major projects. This led to another big sale in 2014, of part of its CRM technology division to Rubik Financial.


Seeing the possibility in the fintech space, Vernon and son Scott have continued developing tech applications, under the name Flexstar Mortgage Corporation, Vernon’s newest business. “We set out to develop a suite of programs that would enable a borrower to go online, get a residential mortgage loan without being touched by human hands, solely by inputting their personal data online, and everyone said, ‘You’ve got to be joking’.” Flexstar originates, lends, and services home loans under the name “Well Home Loans”, a


modern online non-bank lender. It’s funding and securitisation activities are managed by Starship Securitisation, again reflecting Vernon’s sci-fi passion. “We have morphed from being a handson mortgage loan originator, manager, and securitiser, to being an almost, almost, hands-off originator and manufacturer of mortgage loans, a servicer and a securitiser. I guess you could say it’s just really moving on from the start of evolution of this industry. “Our digital binary logic programs that assess the acceptability (or otherwise) of home loans for our investors’ RMBS portfolios are completely black and white; there’s absolutely no human judgment. For example, if the LVR ceiling is 80% and the valuation comes in at, say, 80.5%, there’s no deal; there’s zero discretion. “We have spent, over time, a king’s ransom in developing those programs to comply fully with all aspects of the law and regulation. On top of that, we’ve had that signed off by industry experts and lawyers. Going forward, we see more and more use of advanced information technology, science, and consumer communications. And I’m certain that’s just going to be the way of the world.”


Vernon’s legacy will be much more than mortgage broking. His four sons Jason, Brett, Scott and Adam – who are all qualified accountants (“funny about what my Dad once said to me…”) – have each contributed to the family business’ evolution. Jason originally started the technology arm for Interstar, Scott (CEO) and Vernon drive Flexstar, youngest son Adam and Jason together founded and are joint-

CEOs of one of Australia’s largest real estate portals, Homely.com.au (majority-owned by Stargate), and Brett provides the mortgage industry with specialist mortgage lending compliance products. “I taught my sons the values that my Dad had passed on to me,” shares Vernon. “They’ve been in the business all their lives, so it’s come pretty naturally to them.”


It’s been 46 years since Vernon began mortgage broking, and Vernon has many more developments to come. The key to his longevity, or anyone’s really, he says is exemplified by a metrelong T-Rex model which stands in his Melbourne office’s conference room. “People ask me, ‘What does he mean? Are you guys dinosaurs?’ Now, we could have been. About 65 million years ago, for many reasons, dinosaurs all died out, except this one guy. Why did he survive? Because he learned to adapt. And adaptation, the ability to recognise that there will forever be perpetual change in everything and everyone on this planet, is the key to going forward.”


“I can’t believe you’re not a fbaa member!”offer You’ll receive a...

10% DISCOUNT On your FBAA membership every time you refer a new member. Terms and Conditions apply. Go to fbaa.com.au for more information.


A bullet-proof interview process to help you achieve recruitment success


by Natasha Hawker

Natasha Hawker owns Employee Matters Pty Ltd; an HR Consultancy that assists small to medium businesses with their HR functions to make them more efficient and profitable. Their offering includes HR Management, Recruitment, Training, Coaching, and Exit Management. Find them at employeematters.com.au


ecently, a client of ours, in his excitement and against our instructions, offered a job to a candidate during the actual interview. The offer was based on little more than ‘gut feel’ and he didn’t complete any reference checks. Guess what happened? The candidate showed up for work, and was a complete disaster. He was out the door within the week.



So why did this happen? The reason was that a ‘bulletproof’ interview process wasn’t followed. Let me show you how you can avoid this sort of result:


You need to ensure that every candidate you assess goes through a consistent recruitment process. This approach also has the added benefit of protecting you against claims of unfairness or discrimination.


With structure comes results. Your team will start to get a feel for the process and what type of employees work best for you and them. The other benefit is that your candidates will see that your business is a professional one.


Candidate Management

Phone Screens

Since my earliest days as a recruiter, I have always banged on about the importance of looking after your candidates. This protects your brand, and giving a candidate a positive experience, even without employing them, means they might come back again, when their skills do fit the role.

Most employers don’t conduct a phone screen. It takes you as little as 15 minutes but can save you hours! It’s amazing what you can determine from a phone screen – unrealistic salary expectations, dodgy phone manner, poor communication skills – to name just a few.


This is where I see so many businesses get it wrong. Would you let someone move into your house permanently with your family on the basis of a 20-minute discussion? Where, let’s face it, you did all the talking. No? Well, why are you happy to accept them into your business family?

All too often employers do not undertake the appropriate ‘due diligence’ with candidates. You need to make sure they have the qualifications they said they do. Did you know 25% of job-seekers admit that their CVs have been embellished? This often includes qualifications that they don’t have.

Number of Interviews


Most business owners grab the CV five minutes before the interview and then ‘wing it’. Guess what: the candidate knows this and it doesn’t create a great impression of the level of importance you place on getting this decision right, does it? Make sure you have read the CV carefully and prepared questions. Use the same questions across all candidates, so you can compare and contrast.

Sourcing Strategy

The places where you are going to find the best candidates have changed and you need to source candidates in different ways. Best advice is to update your LinkedIn profile and get a company page; make sure your website is not only

attractive to clients, but also to candidates. They will be assessing you through these channels.


So many candidates are furious about the lack of communication during the interview process and outcomes. They have taken the time and effort to apply and attend interviews, so the least you can do is to give them the courtesy of quickly letting them know the result.


You can be taken for discrimination years after the event. Make sure you have documented effectively the reasons why the candidate was unsuccessful and keep them on file for five years.



It is the tightest applicant market we have seen for years. If you are too slow you will lose the best candidates to your competitor. Let the candidates know at the beginning of the process how long it will take and the steps involved. What are the benefits for getting this right? • Better quality of hire • More cost-effective hiring • Reduced attrition • Brand protection • Beat the talent shortage Give yourself the greatest chance of hiring the best candidates that you can afford. If you need help, just let us know.

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Peter Brine hails from England, played pro football (sorry, “soccer”) as a midfielder through the 1970s, is known as Salty by his fellow footy players, and moved to Australia after he hung up his boots. His appreciation for wine, food and the tastier things in life led him into a career as a restaurateur. Peter now spends his days annoying his sons at their family restaurant, A Touch of Salt in Queensland, and has created Salt Escapes to quench his thirst for good wine and adventure.

Wine, it’s the drop we turn to for celebration and selfmedication. A cheeky glass at lunch, another two at dinner. It’s the go-to gift for everything. And Harvard says regular doses of red wine helps us lose weight. Good enough reason for me, I say.

Mandala Chardonnay 2016, Yarra Valley

Mandala Pinot Noir 2016, Yarra Valley

Taste drive: A strong modern Chardonnay. Smells fruity with a hint of nutty, woody oak on the nose. Grapefruit, green apples and peachy stone fruit on the palate.

Taste drive: Smells of autumn, spicy clove, cherry and sarsaparilla. Deliciously silky, with taste of blood orange and smoky oak.

Ideal pairing: Baked scallops with pancetta, or self-medicate following the release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report.

Pair with: Slow roasted Ox cheek, or the close of any day of the week that ends with ‘y’.



I enjoy many drops in my day job, often tasting my way through various cellars’ portfolios. It’s a tough gig, I admit, but I do it for the love. One drop that’s regular in my cellar is Mandala’s pinot noir, hailing from the Yarra Valley just a short hour from Melbourne. Cool climate, rolling hills, 25year vines, Mandala is set up to produce a quality drop. Under the Winemaker Charles Smedley with their signature wines being Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.


RRP: $30 ALC: 12.3%

RRP: $30 ALC: 13.4%

Yarra Junction Estate Vineyard

Mandala Yarra Junction Cellar

Salt Escapes Full page


Tailored tours of all wine regions within Australia and New Zealand • Unsure where to go? We can suggest a region based on your preferred travel dates and interests • Our local knowledge, insider recommendations and personalised approach to touring • No restrictive itineraries – you’re in control • Ideal for groups of 4 to 10 people elise@saltescapes.com.au atouchofsalt.com.au/salt-escapes


The Next Celebrity Mortgage Broker... “It is now clear that a social media strategy is essential for a business to ‘keep up’…” by Zak Wilford Specialist Recruiter working with Mortgage Brokers

The broking industry is evolving and groups are finding new and innovative ways to reach their customer. When I first started recruiting mortgage brokers and working with groups, ‘social media’ was almost a buzzword. Groups didn’t see the benefit of, or found it difficult measuring the ROI, and struggled to find the time to learn the key aspects of digital marketing, implement and reap a reward. Nothing was broken and so nothing needed fixing; and some still have this attitude.

However, as new players enter the game and younger brokers begin to take advantage of different platforms the benefits become clearer and others begin to copy. It is now clear that a social media strategy is essential for a business to “keep up” and more groups are moving marketing dollars to Facebook and Instagram. I can clearly demonstrate the success I’ve had through marketing on these platforms. By creating blogs, sharing ideas, opinions and industry commentary I have positioned myself as the expert within mortgage broking recruitment. As a result, I’ve been invited to write for magazines, speak at events and given opportunities to further demonstrate my expertise in this area.

I wonder, however, whether any broker will really launch themselves with these platforms. As I watch a vlog by Ryan Serhant – a New York real estate agent who features in the US TV series Million Dollar Listing – I wonder if a broker could build the same presence as Ryan. I’ve discussed this in the past and questioned why real estate is seen as a “sexier” industry. Why do up and coming young professionals lean towards real estate rather than mortgage broking? Could a broker build this kind of presence? Could a broker really have the talent to provide enough value that people would watch a vlog of their day-to-day activities, wheeling and dealing, speaking to referrers, customers and bank BDMs? I don’t see why not.

The Recruitment hub for Mortgage Brokers

workinfinance.com.au 55

How long does it take to build a business? How long can it take to lose one?

A lot can happen in just 24 hours. Including organising urgent finance that could save your client’s business. It’s a late night for us, but a new day for them.



Streamline your workflow – in a snap With the Banking Royal Commission highlighting the importance of brokers being meticulous in their paperwork, processes and compliance, the demand for effective workflow systems that can help brokers dot their Is and cross their Ts is more evident than ever.

security with Snapfile. In order to view documents, you must be registered as a Snapfile user. Unique to Snapfile, you are also able to brand your Snapfile Compliance account with logo and contact details, which carry across to the free 5GB secure cloud store that your invited customers can access for their own use. (It’s a little like a digital fridge magnet.)

A workflow app for mortgage professionals

The Aussie developers of Snapfile, a cloud-based file-sharing service similar to Dropbox or Google Drive, recognised this, and in late 2017 launched Snapfile Compliance, a workflow app which allows users to capture client information, verify identity to industry standards and produce customised reports required under the code – in a secure location and at a fraction of the cost of other apps.

The Snapfile Compliance application captures client information, images, signatures and even lending questions and answers. Once the system generates the required documents as well as the needs analysis and checklist required under the code they are stored securely in Snapfile where they can be shared, used in file preparation or migrated to a business’ CRM. Snapfile works directly with one of Australia’s leading broker platforms saving brokers hundreds of hours.

Snapfile Compliance collects and

Smart Phone or computer with

stores client information, verifies

inbuilt camera it allows users

Snapfile is a centralised store of information, accessible from anywhere via tablets, smart phones or computers. Snapfile business users are able to invite others to the platform and share documents and files with their customers . Unlike other file sharing services however, there is an added layer of

client’s identity to industry standards

to easily collect and manage

and produces industry specific

in joining Snapfile Compliance’s thousands stored informationInterested with no email of satisfied users? Visit compliance.snapfile.com.au

PDF documents in a single workflow


for professionals in the Mortgage and Finance industry

Snapfile Compliance is currently integrated with a leading broker

A workflow for mortgage professionals Designed for use onapp any tablet, software platform. Snapfile Compliance collects and

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Inspired by the John Cooper’s legendary triumphs in the Monte Carlo Rally exactly 50 years ago, this design study embodies undiluted dynamic flair and the ultimate in driving fun – on both the race track and the road. 59

The concept car picks up the baton from the 2012 MINI John Cooper Works GP and 2006 MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit. Produced in strictly limited numbers (2,000 examples each), these two models explored the outer limits of their performance capability at the time.

The design – compact proportions and sporting agility. Significantly wider than the current MINI, the design study exudes dynamism and power. Large front and rear aprons, side skirts and a prominent roof spoiler create a confident appearance. The use of lightweight materials such as carbon fibre optimises the car’s power-to-weight ratio. And evenly balanced weight distribution is a ticket to MINI’s signature go-kart feeling.

The front end.

Large air intakes and precisely moulded air deflectors dominate the front end, which cuts a low-tothe-road figure. Crisply cut add-on elements frame the smooth MINI silhouette and highlight the track focus of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept when viewed head-on. The space between the main body of the front end and the air deflectors further strengthens the car’s presence. The familiar colour contrasts of John Cooper Works models come in the form of the Black Jack Anthracite exterior paint finish – which shimmers between grey and black – and the accent colour Curbside Red metallic.


The rear end.

The rear of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept picks up the striking use of forms in the front end and flanks. Here again, large surfaces are bordered by precisely formed air-channelling elements, and the positioning of the LED rear lights well to the outside of the rear underscores the car’s dynamic focus. Sophisticated touches, such as the half-Union Jack on each side, represent a nod to the concept car’s British origins, while also providing a sporty, technical flourish. The prominent roof spoiler is a visual statement of intent and slots cleanly into the geometry of the side elements.

The interior – stripped down and with track-inspired looks. The interior of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is pared back to its core elements, its roll cage joined on board by little more than a pair of low-mounted bucket seats with five-point belts and a cleanly-designed instrument panel. Gearshift is by paddles on the steering wheel. All the elements of the interior are trained squarely on the driver. The display and control concept with digital instrument cluster and HeadUp Display places the relevant information for the situation at hand directly in the driver’s eyeline, allowing absolute focus on the road to be maintained. Interaction between driver and car is otherwise digital, notably touch-control adjustment of suspension settings

in MINI’s familiar central instrument. As digitalisation dictates, the display here is now in largescreen format. It is left to the large emergency cut-off button and the traditional MINI toggle switches with start/stop button to provide a bridge between the digital and analogue worlds.

MINI + high performance + race-track feeling = John Cooper Works.

The character of the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept is defined by a motor sport heritage which stretches back more than five decades. Indeed, the classic Mini was transformed by legendary sports car designer John Cooper into a byword for driving fun on the road and an extraordinarily successful competitor in the race and rally scene. A motor sport career which began exactly 50 years ago reached its zenith with three overall victories in the Monte Carlo Rally. Today, the John Cooper Works name is synonymous with products and models whose quality is rooted in established motor sport know-how and an association with the British premium small car which dates back all those years. The result: the motor sport experience comes roaring into everyday life.

EXCLUSIVE MINI CORPORATE OFFERS FOR FBAA MEMBERS. BENEFITS TO KEEP YOU MOVING. As a partner of the FBAA, MINI is excited to offer additional benefits to members, giving you even more reasons to experience the performance, style and dynamism of the iconic MINI range. FREE DEALER DELIVERY


As a limited offer exclusive only to FBAA members, if you purchase a MINI before June 30 you’ll receive complimentary MINI Service Inclusive for 5 years/80,000kms* and free dealer delivery^ across the entire range. You and your spouse will also have access to the MINI Corporate program, giving you benefits such as, MINI Roadside Assistance, competitive financing options, access to BMW Group Genius, and complimentary use of a MINI during scheduled servicing, to name just a few. To find out how you can take advantage of these exclusive benefits, visit mini.com.au/corporatebenefits or contact the Corporate Sales team at your preferred MINI Garage today.

Offer applies to new MINI vehicles ordered between 1/4/18 and 30/6/18 and delivered by 30/9/18 at participating authorized MINI Garages by FBAA members or their spouse. ^Dealer delivery is priced at the BMW Corporate Platinum rate of $1650 incl GST. Unless excluded, this offer may be used in conjunction with other applicable offers during the promotion period. Total value will differ subject to model purchased. Benefits apply to the purchase of a new MINI vehicle and only to the vehicle purchased. *Complimentary Service Inclusive - Basic including Vehicle Check, is valid from date of first registration or whichever comes first of 5 years / 80,000kms and is based on MINI Condition Based Servicing, as appropriate. Normal wear and tear items and other exclusions apply. Servicing must be conducted by an authorised MINI dealer in Australia. Subject to eligibility. Terms, conditions, exclusions and other limitations apply, and can be viewed at mini.com.au/corporatebenefits.



GIVE UP THE NEED TO BE by Martin Grunstein Martin Grunstein’s outstanding results with over 500 Australian companies across more than 100 industries has made him this country’s most in-demand speaker on customer service. He is contactable on 0414 933 249 or through his website martingrunstein.com.au.

The need to be right is a basic psychological human need and it is the catalyst for destruction of relationships, both personal and business. How innate is it? See whether you relate to this as a parent: You catch your toddler drawing with crayons on the wall. They have the crayons in their hand and a guilty smile on their face. You say to your little angel, “Who did that?” and what does your child reply? “Not me, mummy!” I have given this scenario to audiences at many conferences and the response is almost universal that they can relate to the above example. Why? Because our need to be right, or more correctly,


our need not to be proved wrong, is fundamental and psychologists say that the younger your child is when he/she starts to lie, the more intelligent he/she is. How does that apply to customer service? Very directly. Say, you are the owner of a restaurant and a customer says the food is terrible. Your first instinct as a human being is to defend yourself from the heinous accusation. You may tell the customer that the chef is world renowned or that you have won awards for your food and that is the wrong thing to do and is more likely to lead to you losing that customer than the quality of the food itself.



“Many times the customer is wrong and sometimes they are a pain in the neck. But the customer must walk away thinking they are right…”

Our need to prove ourselves right at the expense of the customer is the single major obstacle to becoming a business with a reputation for outstanding customer service. The adage “the customer is always right” is definitely not true. Many times the customer is wrong and sometimes they are a pain in the neck. But the customer must walk away thinking they are right if you want them to come back. And if there is a complaint, the customer must be able to save face as well as have the complaint resolved if they are to be a customer again in future. When customers are spending their money in any situation, fundamental to the relationship is that their ego is preserved during the experience by everyone they come in contact with. If we stick with the restaurant theme, my wife and I were out at a restaurant with another couple and the waiter was taking our drinks order. I ordered a Coke and the waiter said they didn’t have Coke, they had Pepsi. I said that’s fine. I then said to my friends that I remember from my old marketing days that Pepsi used to beat Coke in blind product tests and most people couldn’t tell the difference anyway. The waiter corrected me. He said that he

had also studied marketing and the recent evidence is that Coke beats Pepsi and people can tell the difference. I wanted to tell the waiter to rack off! It’s not his job to correct my errors. But his need to be right was greater than his need to have a satisfied customer. We laughed about the incident at the table but I was embarrassed; my wife and I have never returned to the restaurant and I have told many people about the experience and the restaurant in question. Am I saying that we need to suppress a basic human need to be right to be providers of good customer service? Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying! So what do we replace our first instinct of defence and justification with when we receive a complaint or hear something we don’t agree with? Empathy.  When you are kept waiting by a dentist or an accountant or anyone in business for that matter, the first thing they should say is, “I am terribly sorry for keeping you waiting. I appreciate your time is valuable”. When most brokers receive a complaint or hear something that makes them feel uncomfortable,

their first response is to defend their professionalism. This is wrong. The first step should be to acknowledge the concern of the customer. It only matters who is right or wrong if it gets to court and we don’t want it to get to court. The objective when dealing with a complaint is not to determine whose fault it is, it is to resolve the issue in a way that will make the customer want to continue doing business with us. In fact, sometimes we need to apologise when we are in the right for the good of the ego of the client and the retention of their ongoing business. If we can change our instinctive response of defensiveness and justification (the adult version of “not me, mummy”) to empathy and a desire to make the customer happy, we can massively enhance the perception of our business in the minds of customers and those who they communicate with. I remember many years ago hearing Oprah Winfrey say on her show when talking about relationships, “You can go through life being right or being successful and happy – but you can’t have both!” I am happy to give up the need to be right for a little bit more success and happiness. What about you?






Queensland & Northern Territory - State President

New South Wales & ACT - State President

Liberty Network Services Mobile: 0434 338 584 Email: qld@fbaa.com.au

Managing Director Grow Capital Mobile: 0423 001 002 Email: nsw@fbaa.com.au

Brendon KURTZ


Victoria & Tasmania - State President

Western Australia - State President

State Manager VIC/TAS Outsource Financial Mobile: 0478 040 714 Email: vic@fbaa.com.au

Mobile: 0448 773 310 Email: wa@fbaa.com.au

Joff O’SHANNESSY South Australia - State President Director Finance Opportunities Mobile: 0419 820 149 Email: sa@fbaa.com.au


Christine GREEN

Would you like more information on an FBAA event or PD Day thats happening in your local area? Maybe you have some feedback or an issue you would like to discuss? Finance Brokers Association of Australia Street: Level 1, 116 Ipswich Road, Wooloongabba Qld 4120 Post: PO Box 234, Stones Corner Qld 4120 Phone: (07) 3847 8119 Email: info@fbaa.com.au Web: www.fbaa.com.au

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Bernard Desmond

MAN WITH THE $50 MILLION PLAN This June 30, broker Bernard Desmond will celebrate having settled $50 million in 12 months. What’s impressive is that this is Bernard’s first 12 months in broking. His detailed strategy, exemplary work ethic and energetic approach to marketing have helped him achieve industry recognition and set the foundation for a long-term career. In November last year, Melbournebased broker Bernard Desmond was named the FBAA’s 2017 Mentee of the Year at the FBAA’s Awards of Supremacy. At that point, Bernard – who hails from India by way of Dubai – had been a broker less than a year. He was, however, on track to deliver and settle more than $20 million within his first six months. His weighty figures, enthusiasm for broking, and eagerness to share his experience as a new-to-industry broker in order to help others grow their businesses and encourage newcomers into the industry has attracted the industry’s attention, the FBAA included. Mentee of the Year was just the first national industry award of many.

Most recently, in April Bernard was honoured with the 2018 Rising Star Award at The Adviser Better Business Awards (Victoria), and was a finalist for Best Customer Service/Satisfaction. In 2018, he’s nominated for six Australian Broking Awards including Rising Star, Newcomer of the Year, Industry Thought Leader and Residential Broker of the Year, as well as various other industry awards. Like many brokers, Bernard entered broking from the banking industry (his career spanning India, 10 years in international banking in Dubai and four years in retail banking in Australia). In late 2016, he won the National Finance Brokers’ Day social media competition ‘So You Think You Can Broker’. It was exactly the push he needed towards broking.


“My business plan is built around two things: believe it and mean it.” BERNARD DESMOND

“I’d realised that the more successful I became in banking, the more I would say ‘no’ to clients because it didn’t fit the bank’s credit appetite,” explains Bernard, 34. “I became a broker to be independent and provide a real choice to my clients. I could also see that I would be far more successful as a broker than I was going to be as a banker.” Bernard strategically planned out his new business: he selected the Loan Market brand, developed 30day, 60-day and 90-day plans, enlisted a mentor (Therese O’Neill from AlphaBroker), mastered his product and policy, and set some lofty but achievable goals – $20 million in his first six months, and $50 million in his first financial year. “There are 16,000 brokers in Australia; I realised that this is a people business, and I wanted to stand out from the competition,” says Bernard, who has enlisted video, among other tactics, as a key marketing tool in building his business. “My business plan is built around two things: believe it and mean it,” he explains. “I provide service to my clients with speed and do it with absolute convenience to them. You can’t write $50 million doing 9:00 to 5:00 as a one-man band; I work around the clock.” Following a golden run as a first-year broker, what of the next 12 months? Growth is the goal, which means commercial office space and expanding his support team. “For my second year, I’m looking at double-digit growth; I have ambitions to go from $50 million to $100 million.


“You can achieve absolutely anything if you put your mind to it. That’s why I want to share my journey with other new-to-industry brokers.”

BERNARD’S ADVICE TO NEW BROKERS 1. Have a plan – “Develop a clear plan; 30-day, 60day and 90-day, and break it down into daily tasks.” 2. Develop your brand – “Become the guru of your marketplace.” 3. Master your product and policy – “Get across every single lender.” 4. Be a customer’s broker for life – “Be ruthless in your customer service. I base my service around my acronym CARE, which stands for Choice, Advice, Research, Education.” 5. You need support – “A lot of brokers fail in the first few years, I think because they don’t have the right support around them – be it partners, be it wife or family – so they can work the long hours.” 6. Meet new people – “The basics remain the same no matter where in the world you go into business. If you meet more people, you will do more business. So meet new people, every single day.” 7. Get a mentor – “Find a mentor who has a track record of success, and knows your industry.”

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• • •


REACH for a SUMMIT Curious about what goes on at FBAA’s free Summits throughout the country? Attend an upcoming summit and receive updated industry information, training and educational resources, as well as information relating to FBAA ‘exclusive’ incentives and discounts associated with financial products and services. Can’t get there? We’ve developed PD webinars just for you.

As busy brokers it’s often difficult to find the time you need to get across industry changes and updates, while also trying to fit in training and qualify for your required continued professional development points (CPD points). That’s why the FBAA formed its regular Summits, and now a new webinar. Over the next four months, there will be more than 20 FBAA Summits occurring throughout Australia that FBAA members can attend for FREE. Summits assist in improving your overall industry knowledge and ongoing professional development, CPD points, as well enjoy many other tangible benefits. FBAA’s General Manager, John Purvis acknowledges that the FBAA is not able to physically reach all FBAA members through the Summits, but is making every effort to share information via the many digital communication platforms and mediums available to members. One of those key communication mediums is webinars – the FBAA will be communicating with members on a regular basis, and especially with those in regional areas via webinars which will be hosted by the FBAA’s Executive Director, Peter White.    “We clearly acknowledge the difficulties that some members have in attending and participating at


our PD Summits, especially those in remote locations,” explains John. “Peter White, FBAA’s Executive Director will host the first of what will be many FBAA PD webinars and encourages our regional members who can’t make our Summits to join us for our webinar series, which will commence in June. Peter will also answer questions during these interactive sessions.” Further to FBAA Summit events, the FBAA will assist with the facilitation of the Commercial Lending Masterclass Series which is being held in Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney in July. Presentation topics and information provided will include; introduction to commercial lending, commercial credit submissions and what they should look like, SMSF growth and opportunities, understanding and reading financials for the SME market, and leasing opportunities and what to look for. Businesses presenting at this forum include: St George, Suncorp, Vow Financial, FBAA, Core Logic, Macquarie, and Think Tank.  Further information will be communicated to members via the FBAA newsletter, website and email invitation and notifications over the coming weeks.  

The next


top events

For updates regarding FBAA events, and terms and conditions, please review the FBAA website.  

For FBAA event enquiries, contact: events@fbaa.com.au


Melbourne FBAA Summit Friday 25th May


Perth FBAA Summit Tuesday 31st July


Canberra FBAA Summit Wednesday 30th May


Mandurah FBAA Summit Wednesday 1st August


Adelaide FBAA Summit Wednesday 20th June


Adelaide FBAA Summit Tuesday 7th August


Darwin FBAA Summit Wednesday 4th July


Victor Harbour FBAA Summit Wednesday 8th August


*Brisbane 2018 Industry Commercial Masterclass Thursday 19th July


Toowoomba FBAA Summit Wednesday 16th August


*Melbourne 2018 Industry Commercial Masterclass Tuesday 24th July


Brisbane Social (further information to come) Friday 17th August


Melbourne FBAA Summit Tuesday 28th August


*Sydney 2018 Industry Commercial Masterclass Tuesday 26th July


Ballarat FBAA Summit Wednesday 29th August

Note: *Commercial Lending Masterclass Series is an ‘industry event’ and is not governed by the FBAA. Events from September to December will be published in the next edition of Broker Magazine. The FBAA events schedule is subject to change.



Jan Kirstein

Stanley Millar

Chris Szigeti

Dip Fin Serv (MBM), Cert IV, FSMP, Dip FP, Com Dec, AFB, MAICD


AFB, Cert IV FS (FMB), Dip (ML) Sec

Director, FBAA Life Member Special Responsibilities – Chair of Compliance Committee


Jan commenced his finance career in 1976 and has worked principally in senior lending and sales roles. Jan joined the broking industry in 1996 and formed his own broking company in 1998. Jan joined FBAA in 2002, was appointed North Queensland representative of the Association in 2002, and has been a Director since 2005. He has held several positions on the board such as National President, Chairman of various committees and has been Chairman of the Board for a number of years. Jan was admitted to the status of Life Member in 2013 in appreciation of services provided to the Association and members.

Stan Millar has many years of experience in banking and finance. Stan joined ANZ Bank in 1966 and worked in that organisation until 1992, reaching the position of Branch Manager. A founding member of FBAQ which later became FBAA, he was elected Secretary early in the Association’s history and has held the position almost continuously ever since. He was made the first Life Member of the Association in recognition of his service to the Association and its Members.

Chris has been involved in the finance industry since 1975, running his own Mortgage and Finance business, Chris Szigeti & Associates t/as CSA Finance and Mortgages Can Do since He started his finance career with IAC ( Citibank ), then 10 years with AGC, where he held senior managerial roles covering all aspects of Finance. Chris was a founding member of FBAQ in 1992 which evolved into the FBAA. He was Queensland State President (2004-2009), first elected to the Board in 2009 as National Treasurer (2009-11). Chris was admitted to the status of Life Member in 2014 in appreciation of services provided to the Association and Members.

Principal Brokir Pty Ltd Phone: (07) 3847 8119 Email: jkirstein@fbaa.com.au

Managing Director Bromac Business Services Pty Ltd Phone: 0408 714 137 Email: smillar@fbaa.com.au

Managing Director Chris Szigeti & Associates Pty Ltd T/as CSA Finance & Mortgages Can Do Phone: (07) 5592 2635 Email: cszigeti@fbaa.com.au

Director, FBAA Life Member Special Responsibilities – Chairman of the Board of Directors


Director, FBAA Life Member Special Responsibilities - Vice Chairman and IDR Chairman

John Mulcair

Kim Szigeti


JP (Qual), AFB, Cert IV FS (FMB), Dip

Director, FBAA Life Member Special Responsibilities – Treasurer and CFO


Director Special Responsibilities Company Secretary, Director Policies, State Branches

AFB, Cert IV FS (FMB), B.Com (Prof

John Mulcair has vast experience in banking, finance and accounting spanning more than 50 years. John joined FBAA in 2002, was appointed ACT Representative in 2003, ACT State President in 2005, first appointed to the Board in 2006, National Treasurer 2006-08, Board Consultant 2009-11, then re-appointed to the Board as National Treasurer in 2011. John was admitted to the status of Life Member in 2009 in appreciation of services provided to the Association and members.

Kim Szigeti has vast experience in finance and mortgage broking spanning more than 20 years, and currently holds a Real Estate Licence. Prior to this Kim held various positions in retail and hospitality, as well as volunteer in previous and present positions with community organisations. Kim joined FBAA in 2005, was Secretary of QLD Council 2007-2009, and elected to the Board in 2015.

Rick Nieuwenhoven has vast experience in accounting practice and education, finance, financial planning, property investment, and mortgage broking spanning more than 15 years, and currently is a registered agent of ASIC. Rick joined FBAA in 2012, was SA State President 2013-15, and elected to the Board in 2015.

Director Wilde Mulcair Pty Ltd Mobile: 0416 049 423 Email: jmulcair@fbaa.com.au

Mortgages Can Do Phone: (07) 5592 2635 Email: kszigeti@fbaa.com.au

Business Owner Nieuvision Phone: (08) 8263 4009 Email: rnieuwenhoven@fbaa.com. au

Rick Nieuwenhoven Acct), MAICD

Director Special Responsibilities – Member Finance, Audit and Risk Committee

Broker Magazine

73 73


Stephen Rasmussen AFB, Cert IV FS (FMB), B.Com (Prof Acct), MAICD

Director Special Responsibilities­­ Audit & Risk Committee, Chairman- Equity Release/ Reverse Mortgage Committee Stephen has been involved in the finance and banking industry for more than 40 years, starting with the CBA in a branch environment. Stephen started his own broking business in 1995, essentially as a one-man operation. Stephen was appointed as QLD/NT State President in 2009, and then elected to the Board in 2016

Tony Carter

Peter J White

Cert IV FS (FMB), Graduate Management Qualification (GMQ) – UWA


Director Special Responsibilities Chairman – Motor and Asset Finance Committee

Tony has been involved with the motor and finance industry for over 40 years, the last 20 as Dealer Principal/Director of 3 motor dealerships. He has been engaged with finance since early career days at AGC and was a Licensed Finance Broker in WA from 2004 to 2013 ending as an ACL holder when he resigned from the motor dealership position. Today Tony holds a Credit Rep role under his son’s company Echo Finance and runs his own Vehicle and Finance Brokerage in WA – Brokerage WA. Over the past 20 years Tony has been on three NFP boards – BIZLINK – Chairman, Asthma Foundation WA – Chairman and Asthma Australia – Director.

Managing Director Tailored Lending Concepts Mobile: 0412 295 875 Email: srasmussen@fbaa.com.au


Principal Broker Brokerage WA Phone: 0418 911 220 Email: tcarter@fbaa.com.au

Executive Director Special Responsibilities Government, Media and Strategy

Peter has vast experience in Banking and Finance spanning over 39 years, which includes his most recent admission onto the advisory board of the Small Business Association of Australia. Peter is highly engaged with Government and Industry Regulators ensuring beneficial outcomes for current & future reviews that are, and will be undertaken. Peter has held FBAA roles of NSW President, National Vice President, National President, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer.

Phone: 07 3847 8119 Email: pwhite@fbaa.com.au

Thinking about upgrading to a FNS50315 Diploma of Finance and Mortgage Broking Management?

RTO 51428

Suite 1, 445 Melbourne Road, Newport, VIC 3015


25 Years ago we made a promise to be a voice for our Members.

That promise was kept Here’s to the next 25 years.

How has the finance broking industry changed in your eyes? Share your perspective with us on Facebook or email editor@fbaa.com.au We welcome stories, memories and insights from the past 25 years, as we build our archive and celebrate the FBAA and our industry’s history.


Profile for FBAA

Broker. May 2018  

Broker. May 2018  

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