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NIGHT OF NIGHTS AT THE AUSTRALIAN MORTGAGE AWARDS MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU ISSUE 12.12

MPA TOP 100 BROKERS

THE INDUSTRY’S FINEST REVEALED PARTNER FOR SUCCESS SETTING UP REFERRAL RELATIONSHIPS

EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP HANDING OVER YOUR BUSINESS

IMPRESS THE PRESS ENGAGING MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE


CONTENTS / ISSUE 12.12

56 Partner for success Brokers share their secrets for building referral relationships

44

Night to remember A look at the glamour and glory from this year’s AMAs

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WEEKLY INVESTIGATIONS NOW ONLINE: COVER STORY 30 | MPA Top 100 The industry’s hall of fame revealed

Tech transformations Problem solving » mpamagazine.com.au 


CONTENTS / ISSUE 12.12 NEWS & VIEWS

STATS

8 | Round-up The latest market intelligence from the world of property, economics and mortgages

60 | Positive gearing Australia’s best rental returns

12 | On line The best from MPA Online and Australian Broker Online 14 | Product news A round-up of the latest rate changes and product launches

26

SMART BUSINESS 18 | Know when to fold ‘em Who will build your brand when you’ve gone? 40 | Media savvy Engage the media without fear

PROFILES 26 | Brendan Wright on his new role as FAST CEO 62 | Mark Davis on being named Broker of the Year two years running

18

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LIFESTYLE 64 | My favourite things ... Vibha Coburn, Citibank


NEWS / ROUND-UP

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CONTENTS / EDITOR’S LETTER

A NIGHT TO REMEMBER My experience at the Australian Mortgage Awards is a bit different to most. I spend most of the evening shuffling surprised and elated winners from the photo-staging area to the video interview area, so I don’t get to see much of the show. What I do get is the pleasant surprise of watching the winners come around the corner, still shellshocked from hearing their name announced. What struck me at this year’s awards was how many genuinely nice, deserving people were nominated and won, and how gracious they were in their victory. It’s great to be able to honour the industry, as we’ve done through 11 years of the AMAs (covered on page 44), and as we do in this issue with our eighth MPA Top 100 list (page 30). Throughout the issue, we’ve celebrated the best of the best. But the best don’t rest on their laurels. Their success is a result of a relentless drive to learn and improve. That’s why we’ve also brought you business strategy tips on how to engage with the media to benefit your business (page 40) and how to ensure your business keeps growing even after you’ve gone (page 18). Adam Smith, editor, MPA

COPY & FEATURES EDITOR Adam Smith CONTRIBUTOR Andrea Cornish PRODUCTION EDITORS Carolin Wun, Moira Daniels

ART & PRODUCTION SENIOR DESIGNER Rebecca Downing DESIGN Ginni Leonard

SALES & MARKETING NATIONAL SALES MANAGER Rajan Khatak ACCOUNT MANAGER Simon Kerslake MARKETING EXECUTIVE Anna Keane TRAFFIC MANAGER Abby Cayanan

CORPORATE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Mike Shipley MANAGING DIRECTOR Claire Preen CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER George Walmsley MANAGING DIRECTOR – BUSINESS MEDIA Justin Kennedy ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Rajan Khatak CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER Colin Chan HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER Julia Bookallil Editorial enquiries Adam Smith tel: +61 2 8437 4792 adam.smith@keymedia.com.au Advertising enquiries Sales Manager Rajan Khatak tel: +61 2 8437 4772 rajan.khatak@keymedia.com.au Account Manager Simon Kerslake tel: +61 2 8437 4786 simon.kerslake@keymedia.com.au Subscriptions tel: +61 2 8437 4731 • fax: +61 2 9439 4599 subscriptions@keymedia.com.au Key Media keymedia.com.au Key Media Pty Ltd, Regional head office, Level 10, 1 Chandos St, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia tel: +61 2 8437 4700 fax: +61 2 9439 4599 Offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto brokernews.com.au

CONNECT

Contact the editor: adam.smith@keymedia.com.au

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Copyright is reserved throughout. No part of this publication can be reproduced in whole or part without the express permission of the editor. Contributions are invited, but copies of work should be kept, as MPA magazine can accept no responsibility for loss

Printed on paper produced from 100% sustainable forestry, grown and managed specifically for the paper pulp industry


NEWS / ROUND-UP

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NEWS / ROUND-UP FORECASTING

ASIC

Watchdog shows its bite ASIC has continued its recent run of cracking down on the mortgage broking industry with its first criminal case. The regulator brought criminal charges against former NSW broker Daniel Nguyen. Nguyen is accused of “providing false information to banks” to secure approvals for loans, according to an ASIC statement.

Happy homebuyers and giddy graduates Homebuyers are feeling happier than ever, and recent grads are flooding the investor market. That’s Genworth’s take, at least. The company’s latest research says that homebuyer sentiment has hit a post-GFC high. Its bi-annual Homebuyer Confidence Index rose 2.2% from March of this year to 98.4%, with more than half of the consumers in the survey saying now is a good time to buy. One of the more surprising results, according to researcher and report author Alan Shields, was the flood of graduates into the investor market.  “[We looked at] recent graduates, and the proportion of those that don’t own their own home but have an investment property is 12%. Compare that to the general population, which is around 5%,” he said. But CEO Ellie Comerford added Australia had the second-highest rate of younger homeowners, or potential first homebuyers, living with mum and dad.

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The AMA Finalists feature in MPA 12.10 neglected to list Theo Chambers of Oxygen Home Loans as a finalist for Quality Young Gun of the Year – Independent. MPA regrets the error.

He pleaded guilty to all 10 charges, which included nine offences of providing false documents to banks for loans totalling more than $3m, and one offence of assisting three clients to “apply for credit contracts that were unsuitable.” Nguyen faces a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of $11,000 per charge.


NEWS / ROUND-UP CONSUMERS

Loyalty at risk, but relationships are key A leading analyst has warned that consumer loyalty is on the decline, but an aggregator head says a focus on relationships can stem the tide. Max Franchitto, management advisor and business analyst for MGF Consulting, has claimed waning customer loyalty could hit trail book value for brokers. “Theoretically, [if ] I buy a book from another broker, I’m not assured that I’m going to retain those clients. With the new world of no real barriers to switching, you can’t do anything [to] stop the client from getting their money for a mortgage elsewhere,” he said. But Ballast head Frank Paratore says a focus on relationships and cross-selling will see brokers build brand loyalty. “Fact: the more ‘related’ services provided to the one customer, the less the likelihood that they leave.”

“Theoretically, [if] I buy a book from another broker, I’m not assured that I’m going to retain those clients”

Broker boons Consumer survey: What’s the number one benefit of using a broker?

52%

Negotiating a better interest rate

24%

Save time and paperwork

21%

Educate about products

3%

Getting fees waived Source: Loan Market

INVESTORS

DIVERSIFICATION

PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS While grad investors may be flooding into the market, many consumers are still standing on the sidelines. Research shows many would-be property investors are confident about the economy and the property market, but are still hesitant to “dip their toe in”. According to CoreData, positive sentiment hit a 15-month high amongst investors, although overall levels are still low

INFOGRAPHIC

and the intention to purchase is even lower. Kristen Turnbull, head of advice, wealth and super at CoreData says the overall low levels were due to the industry being in a serious “rut for some time.” “We hit an all-time low last quarter for investor sentiment. We’re still very much in the recovery period, and people are generally still a little nervous, although it has improved.” Turnbull says the results pointed to a disparity between feeling confident and taking the next step and actually investing.

BROKERS LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE Cross-sell and diversification are words that won’t go away in mortgage broking, but new research shows brokers are being slow to take up broader product offerings. The latest Commonwealth Bank/MFAA Home Finance Index found only 52.8% of Australian customers are being cross-sold home loan protection insurance. Meanwhile, only 48.2% of

customers were offered home contents and building insurance by brokers, and an even smaller 31.2% slice of the market was offered life insurance. The findings come in contrast to the sales potential of the products, with the survey of 1,423 people finding that 34.1% of customers take home and contents insurance if offered to them.

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NEWS / ROUND-UP BANKS

ODD

Crazy like a fox

BANK BELONGING BRINGS SATISFACTION Comparison site Mozo’s annual People’s Choice Awards revealed one in five borrowers plan to switch banks, with customers of the big four the most likely to jump ship. The switching results come despite the majors clawing their way back to popularity. CBA – the least popular major last year – is now ranked second behind NAB for customer satisfaction. However, 20% of big four customers planned to switch, compared to just 10% of mutual and second-tier customers. Mozo’s managing director, Rohan Gamble says the majors are

turning customers off with a lack of trust and customer service. “This year our home loan rankings are completely dominated by lenders with a brand that relates in some way to belonging, such as ME Bank, Newcastle Permanent, CUA, Greater Building Society and Heritage Bank,” he said. “These lenders rate particularly highly on the measures of trust and customer service, and our analysis of this year’s home loan ratings shows that trust is the strongest indicator of overall satisfaction, over and above price or other more obvious criteria.”

COMMUNICATION

KEEP IT SIMPLE

What kind of billionaire takes out a mortgage on their house? A smart one. Despite being worth an estimated US$16bn, Facebook founder and hoodie enthusiast Mark Zuckerberg recently refinanced his Palo Alto home with a 30-year adjustable-rate loan starting at 1.05% (a ridiculously low rate to begin with). But why would a multi-billionaire take out a mortgage rather than pay cash outright? It is, of course, another of Zuckerberg’s calculated moves. As the initial interest rate is far below the US inflation rate, Zuckerberg can take the money he would have spent on the house and invest it elsewhere. Add to that the fact that mortgage interest in the US is tax-deductible, and Zuckerberg is making money on his mortgage.

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STATS

21 The number

of properties an average first homebuyer looks at before deciding to purchase

An Ernst and Young study of 635 Australians has revealed a third gets turned off and give up if the information on loans is too complicated. John Rolland, Ernst and Young’s customer leader, advisory, said banks “and their channels” needed to focus on simplifying their message.  “They need to ensure the information available via all their channels is in plain English and provides real comparisons. In other words, it doesn’t require high levels of financial literacy to make sense of it,” he said.

The study also showed a massive two-thirds believe a better deal is out there, just not at their own bank. Furthermore, 65% of respondents wanted to be rewarded for their loyalty with lower rates and better fees. “The winners will be the ones that make things simpler, offer innovative, tailored banking solutions that better meet customer needs, take a more proactive approach to their relationships, and reward loyalty,” said Rolland.


NEWS / ROUND-UP RBA

Risky business

INFOGRAPHIC

Crystal ball gazing SQM’s property market forecast for the year ahead

The RBA has warned a flat property market may incentivise lenders to adopt ‘risky’ lending practices, which it says would “sow the seeds of future problems.” It made these claims in its twice-yearly Financial Stability Review. While banks in Australia were given an overall thumbs-up, it was the risk of lenders softening lending standards to drive profits which had the RBA concerned. “With demand for credit likely to remain moderate, a challenge for firms in a competitive banking environment will be to resist pressure to ease lending standards to gain market share in the pursuit of unrealistic profit expectations,” the RBA said. “The challenge… will be to avoid taking on unnecessary risk or cutting costs indiscriminately.”

Rural towns

5–8% growth

Mining towns

-5%–7% growth

Capital city markets

Holiday markets

4–7% growth

3–6% growth

Source: SQM Research

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NEWS / MULTIMEDIA

ON LINE The latest highlights from MPA online and Australian Broker Online

In motion

The latest from Broker News and MPA TV

FEMALE BROKERS BLAZING THE TRAIL TO SUCCESS The mortgage broking industry is no longer a man’s world

BOTTOM LINE Is your aggregator giving you bang for your buck?

OFF LIMITS Brokers are no longer spoiled for choice when it comes to lenders 12 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  

SAY WHAT? THE BIGGEST QUOTES FROM THE MONTH

“The big banks do take a hit to their customer satisfaction ratings when they are perceived to be mean with their rates movements.” – Mozo managing director Rohan Gamble on the price of holding back on rate cuts

“I think we will still see a number of boutique aggregators pop up for the right reasons, and they’ll have a certain way they will do things which will vary and make them different from major aggregators.”

HOW BROKERS GET BANNED

Have you ever wondered how and when tip-offs and complaints actually result in ASIC action against rogue brokers? Here’s how. ASIC has released information regarding how it handles tip-offs, complaints, information of concern and reports of misconduct. With the regulator receiving more than 20,000 reports of misconduct each year, ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell explained that – while all reports are received, acknowledged, analysed, assessed and recorded by ASIC’s national misconduct and breach reporting team – not all reports actually result in ASIC action. “All reports of misconduct provide us with valuable information but not every matter brought to our attention requires us to take action,” he said, adding that ASIC’s new information sheets are aimed at explaining “how such cases are handled”. So how does ASIC’s reporting team decide which cases to pursue? The regulator weighs every report of misconduct against four key questions: 1. What is the extent of harm or loss? 2. What are the benefits of pursuing the misconduct? 3. How do other issues, like the type and seriousness of the misconduct and the evidence available, affect the matter? 4. Is there an alternative course of action?

– Connective principal Mark Haron on the future of aggregation

“The fact is our housing prices are in broad alignment with many similar economies, so it’s my belief that talk of a housing bubble is misplaced.”

– BT chief economist Chris Caton on fears over a housing slump

To find out more on all of these stories, as well as latest business strategy advice, special reports, profiles, news, views and analysis, visit mpamagazine.com.au.


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NEWS / PRODUCT ROUND-UP

PRODUCT NEWS A bite-size guide to the industry’s newest products, key updates and fresh initiatives

Who: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank What: SuperAstute

EDITOR’S CHOICE Who: Better Mortgage Management What: Capital Specialist loan

The spec: The second-tier has launched its selfmanaged super administration platform, which establishes the trust deed and linked bank accounts, monitors investments, and monitors contribution limits and end of year audit and tax return requirements. 

The spec: This low-doc product offers features not previously available including capitalisation of fees above maximum LVR of 80%, no requirement for GST registration if declaring below $75,000, and the ability to use an accountant’s letter to verify income if borrower has credit impairment. It also allows borrowers with adverse credit to access finance for vacant land up to one acre in major metropolitan areas, and expands the areas available to rural borrowers. What they say: “Many self-employed borrowers who own small businesses aren’t legally required to register for GST where income is less than $75,000, so they will now be able to access a specialist loan which previously wasn’t the case. Another area creating roadblocks was the inability of borrowers with credit impairments to use an accountant’s letter to verify their income, which I’m pleased to say has also been removed with our new loan. With more borrowers now being moved into the specialist category due to tighter lending requirements, it is important brokers have at their disposal a full range of specialist loan options.” – Murray Cowan, managing director, Better Mortgage Management

What they say: “SuperAstute provides trustees with everything they need to set up, administer, invest, audit and keep their SMSF compliant. It reduces complexity, it’s transparent, and it gives trustees greater control and online functionality.” – Diego Del Rosso, senior manager strategic partners and wholesale, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

KEY FEATURES: • Capitalisation of fees above maximum 80% LVR • Accountant’s letter to verify income • More rural postcodes accepted • Finance for vacant land up to one acre in metro areas • Rate from 7.99%

KEY FEATURES: • Cash management via term deposits, shares and lending with portfolio rebalancing • End-to-end online administration of SMSF funds • Preparation and lodgment of regulatory returns and forms

“It is important brokers have at their disposal a full range of specialist loan options” – MURRAY COWAN

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NEWS / LOAN MARKET

LOUD AND

PROUD

Loan Market brought its two-day broker conference to a wet, windy Melbourne, where even the gloomy weather couldn’t dampen the infectious optimism of the participants

L

oan Market’s broker conference, last held in 2010, came back with a defiant bang this year as brokers converged in Melbourne for two days of rousing speeches and intensive workshops to the theme of ‘Let’s get Loud’. It was an apt theme for Loan Market’s infectious enthusiasm for the event. “It’s always a great thrill to have our brokers, management and support staff from throughout Australia and New Zealand come together to discuss the successes of the past year,” said Loan Market’s executive chairman Sam White. “We look forward to building on that success over the next 12 months.”

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STATE OF AFFAIRS The conference opened with a refreshingly frank assessment of Australia’s economic prospects from forecast specialist and conference circuit regular, Jonathan Pain. If that was a little abstract for the broker audience, the speakers that followed – Loan Market’s own management team across marketing, finance and technology – brought it all back to reality with their ‘Around the Grounds’ state of affairs for the immediate future. Marketing manager Ed Thian and finance manager Nicole Glen said the next few months would be defined by progress across Loan Market’s digital platforms, and

the all-important commission payment process. “Our top priority in finance is getting commissions to you as quickly as possible,” said Glen.

THE AWARDS GALA There was no rest for the wicked: after a full day of intensive break-out sessions and motivational speeches, participants had just 30 minutes to beautify themselves before the International Awards Dinner in the hotel’s Promenade Room. The wine flowed freely, as did the incredulous laughs at celebrity host Sam Kekovich’s jokes, which dangerously skimmed the edge of good taste.


A DIGITAL FUTURE Any sore heads the next day were quickly cured by an upbeat speech from Loan Market’s executive chairman, Sam White, who closed the conference by announcing the creation of a new client app, as well as heralding an aggressive push into the digital sphere. The app, which is due to launch later this year, will focus on brokers with an eventual roll-out to consumers.

Director of sales Mark De Martino was reluctant to reveal specific details, however one of the features will be ‘augmented reality’, which will allow users to hold their phones up to a street, and the app will show which houses are up for sale.

OUT WITH A BANG The faded, kitsch glamour of Luna Park in St Kilda was the setting for the conference’s extravagant circus-themed

closing party. Brokers in fancy dress piled onto buses, all feathers, outrageous hats and circus paraphernalia. Spirits were high despite the heavy Melbourne rain. Rides were opened just for brokers, who let loose after two days of intensive professional development and emotional speeches. “There is plenty to get excited about in our industry,” said Sam White.

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FEATURE / SUCCESSION PLANNING

KNOW WHEN TO

FOLD 'EM When and if you decide to exit the industry, the best person to buy your business could be right under your nose

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FEATURE / SUCCESSION PLANNING

W

hen you walk away from your career as a mortgage broker, you’re leaving behind more than just a business – you’re leaving your brand, your reputation and your legacy. While you want to sell the business and use the funds for retirement, most are not willing to sell at any price and watch the new owner run it into the ground. One way to bolster the business’ success beyond your involvement is to sell the business to a valued and trusted employee. According to Succession Plus principal Craig West, a younger successor from within the company is probably the right person to buy for several reasons. “They’re in their 30s, they’re keen, they’re working in the business, and they want to be involved,” he says. One of the biggest advantages of selling your business to a trusted and valued employee is that clients, strategic partners and key staff will already be familiar with the buyer. In addition the buyer is accustomed to the company culture, and has insight into the business’ strengths and weaknesses. “It’s much better protected than if you sold the business to someone no one has ever met before,” West says. But here’s the rub – most employees don’t have the cash to buy it. One way to get around this obstacle is to put in place an employee share ownership plan to help fund business succession. “Using an employee share plan gives them the funding capacity to buy-in over time, which generally they wouldn’t have an opportunity to do,” explains West.

“It’s much better protected than if you sold the business to someone no one has ever met before” – CRAIG WEST, SUCCESSION PLUS

HOW IT WORKS Approximately 90% of listed companies and 56% of subsidiaries of overseas listed companies have employee share plans, option plans or other profit schemes. Conversely, only a very small number of unlisted companies offer any type of employee share plans. Shares are often difficult to value and normally illiquid, and the legal and accounting complexities are cost prohibitive for most small businesses. According to employee ownership specialist Alan Greig of Mercury Centre, management buy-outs through employee share ownership plans are quite popular in North America. “As much as 20% of SME successions in the US are now to employee groups through ESOPs,” says Greig. By comparison, these schemes are still relatively uncommon in Australia. But there are options for small businesses looking to implement an incentive plan that

Advantages of employee share ownership plans + Ensures smooth continuation of the business + Employee/buyer is well-known by clients, suppliers + Employee/buyer is familiar to, and usually better accepted by, other company personnel + Increase in the employee’s/buyer’s motivation + Increase in the employee’s/buyer’s loyalty + Surety for owner that a clear succession plan is in place + Employee/buyer is already familiar with company’s culture + Employee/buyer is already familiar with company’s strengths and weaknesses

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FEATURE / SUCCESSION PLANNING

businesses – real estate agents, mortgage brokers, medical professionals – it’s perfect for them.”

On the ground 1st Street owner Jeremy Fisher has looked closely at selling the business to employees as a succession strategy. “This is something that we have considered here in the office,” he says. “We have a succession plan in place – in the event of retirement or death – that selected brokers in the office will have the right to take over the business. In the event of retirement, there would be an agreed multiple to be paid. We also have a business succession plan which dictates what would happen in the event of me dying. We have taken out insurance to cover the cost of a broker acquiring the business in the event of death so that my family doesn’t have the burden of either running the business or working out how to sell it.”

is both a profit share scheme and a mechanism to fund succession. According to West, the most common vehicle is to set up a profit share plan. “Unlike most profit share plans where people pay out in cash and the employee goes out and buys a new car or goes on holiday, we pre-determine that the profit share plan can only be used to buy shares in the company. It can’t be used for anything else but succession.” The plan is an ongoing performance-based profit share plan that funds the equity purchase step-by-step. Each year additional profits are used by the employee to buy shares, or a percentage of the business. For example, if the company earns an additional profit of $50,000, then the employee can buy $50,000 in shares. In year one that might only be 5% of the business, but each year they continue to build shares in the business. Dividends can also be used to buy additional shares, so in that way the plan is accelerated. West suggests business owners looking to implement this type of succession plan start planning five to 10 years in advance. Setting up this type of profit share ownership plan is easy to do, he adds. “They take about three months to set up and it’s about a $20,000 expense. Most big listed companies have employee share plans of some sort, we just customise and design a plan for smaller, private

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ADVANTAGES There are several key benefits to implementing an employee share ownership plan as part of your succession strategy, not the least of which is peace of mind. Having the ability to handpick the buyer gives business owners a greater sense of security that the business has been left in good hands. Staff retention and employee motivation are also big advantages. Staff not involved in buying the business feel more secure knowing that a plan is in place, and the employee/buyer is motivated to perform, as additional profits are helping them build equity in the business. “Everybody knows that, as employees, you have a sick day if you’re not feeling 100%, but as a business owner you probably don’t have a sick day unless you’re half dead. It’s just not the way it works. And if you can encourage that kind of culture in a small business you get much better performance,” West says. The other benefit is maximised sale value. According to West, the valuation should be increasing year-on-year as the performance of the business improves. “So unlike a sale, if I sell you my business today, we agree on a price and say, ok it’s a million bucks, that’s all I’m going to get. But if we agree it’s a million dollars and as a shareholder you now own 20%, you’re far more motivated to improve that business because: a) you’ve got shares; and b) because you’re intending to buy the rest of the business so the more it’s worth over time, the better for you. There’s a natural inbuilt performance tool in there that actually helps to maximise the value of the business for both the buyer and the seller. It’s a win-win.”

“We have a succession plan in place … that selected brokers will take over the business” – JEREMY FISHER, 1ST STREET


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FEATURE / SUCCESSION PLANNING

A helping hand Many brokers are unprepared for transitioning to retirement, but John Trubicyn of KeyInvest says the aggregator has a plan in place to help brokers move on. Trubicyn says KeyInvest has worked to build a clear path to retirement for its brokers. He said the aggregator had put in place a 1–3-year succession plan for brokers looking to exit the industry and sell their business. The plan includes partnering outgoing brokers with brokers seeking to buy trail books, with KeyInvest often offering to purchase the books themselves. “As part of our business coaching and support, we determine what the long-term goals are for their business, and then help them formulate plans that will enable them to reach their ultimate goal. Good brokers ask their clients the same sort of questions, but rarely apply the same principles to their own business and lifestyle needs,” he says. For other brokers moving toward retirement, Trubicyn advises that they examine the assets their business has to offer. “There are only three real assets in most broking businesses: the loan book, the database and the broker. The loan book may be devalued if it is old, is mainly with one lender, overly represented by sub-prime loans, too many jumbo loans or has problem loans. The value of a database improves if there is evidence it has a robust CRM capability that facilitates personalised marketing and customer care programs. The broker should be compliant, have a sound reputation, be willing to assist with the transition of the business and provide a clear undertaking regarding future activity,” Trubicyn says. Another difficulty facing the industry as brokers head toward retirement will be reinvigorating mortgage broking with new blood, Trubicyn believes. While he says KeyInvest offers programs to ease the transition for brokers both entering and exiting businesses, he commented that succession plans have often been lacking in the industry. “We have in the past offered ‘broking apprenticeships’, but this is an industry initiative that is currently lacking, and should have greater buy-in from our industry associations and government. On our part, we provide guidance to our brokers of the optimum time to recruit the right personnel for their business. The challenge for both parties is that the businesses vary greatly in size, diversity of service and product offering, so it’s not one-size-fits-all advice, and needs to be tailored to each situation.”

There are also huge tax advantages. “Basically, it’s more tax effective to do it through this type of structure,” West explains. “If I was to pay you a bonus of $50,000 per year, you’d have to pay half that in tax roughly. And then you’ve only got $25,000 left to buy my equity. In this plan, if I pay $50,000 into the employee share plan, you’ve got the full $50,000 to buy the equity. So it’s pre-tax dollars they can use to buy, rather than post-tax dollars, which is a big advantage.”

DISADVANTAGES Employee share ownership plans are not last-minute solutions. If you’re considering this type of strategy you will need to implement a vehicle to fund the succession at least five years out from retirement, although the majority of businesses need somewhere between five and 10 years.

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“There are only three real assets in most broking businesses: the loan book, the database and the broker” – JOHN TRUBICYN, KEYINVEST


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HEAD TO HEAD / BRENDAN WRIGHT

THE FAST TRACK The new CEO of FAST Brendan Wright shares what the aggregator plans to do to combat broker challenges such as slow credit growth and intense competition

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HEAD TO HEAD / BRENDAN WRIGHT

MPA: How have your previous roles prepared you to be CEO of FAST? Brendan Wright: My background, and people are

Factfile

starting to understand this now – I’ve been a long time in financial services. I’ve been across business, retail and credit, frankly spanning many economic cycles – particularly running large distribution businesses. I have a real passion for leading businesses that deliver solutions that enable consumers and business owners to be successful in achieving their personal goals. That’s what pushes my buttons and certainly the role at FAST gives me the opportunity to do that with our brokers and how they deliver to their clients. And in the early 1990s, I was away from financial services and owned and operated my own timber manufacturing business that employed 20 people. So I personally understand what it’s like and what it means to have your capital on the line, the challenges of running a business, creating employment for people, delivering to clients and then contributing to the economy, and all that comes with that.

Brendan Wright, CEO of FAST ++ Age: 45 ++ Family: Married, three kids (Age 18, 16, 12) ++ Education: Business degree – University of Southern Queensland ++ Hometown: Brisbane ++ Hobbies: Cycling and running

MPA: Some brokers have speculated that your background with NAB will compromise your ability to defend brokers should commissions or bank service levels decline. What do you say to these critics? BW: That’s a question I’ve been expecting and I’ve been answering. Over my many years in financial services I’ve actually worked with brokers in those different roles and supported them in many different ways and have been a strong supporter and enjoyed watching the industry grow and evolve as it has, particularly in the last three to four years. I’m highly aware of the critical role broker remuneration and sound service plays from a bank perspective in ensuring we have sustainable success for our broker businesses, and their ability, importantly to deliver to their clients. My primary responsibility as the CEO of FAST is to look after the brokers who choose to aggregate with us. My success will be measured by the success of those brokers.

MPA: What’s been the biggest learning curve to date? BW: This is more of an insight than a learning curve… as to why I’m excited and delighted to be in the role, it’s become even more clear to me that the third party broker and the broker industry is a significant and critical part of the financial services industry and I’m just delighted to be a part of the industry. I look

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forward to being able to contribute to it as well, to an industry that provides independent services and advice to consumers and businesses.

MPA: What do you see as being the biggest challenges facing FAST brokers and what will you do to help them overcome these obstacles? BW: At the moment one of the challenges is slow credit growth, intense competition and pressure on the economics of our business. So FAST will continue to focus on our service proposition in particular and on delivering good technology, a good service proposition, and the right types of products and services that support our brokers – and that’s done by our partnership managers, in particular around the country to commercial and residential brokers. We’ve got a significant upgrade coming to the Podium platform later in November. That’s been designed with feedback from our brokers. They participated in the testing of the new version and they’ve had a say in the development of how it can help them provide better service and help them be successful in what they do.


FAST is committed and I’m committed to ensuring we support the brokers with access to that service platform, credit capability and compliance capability, and NCCP – all the things that help them run sustainable, successful businesses to deliver to their clients.

MPA: What kind of changes can we expect to see from FAST in the coming months? BW: You’ll see the FAST brand become more visible in the marketplace. We are very passionate about increasing the awareness of what FAST can offer to the brokers that we select to deal with, and who choose us.

MPA: Do you foresee the white label space continuing to grow? BW: Yes. From a FAST perspective and customer relationships, for the broker and their client it’s important. It touches on NCCP and responsible lending. Ensuring they have the right product, brokers are delivering the right type of product recommendations that are suitable in the best interests of their clients. This is important to FAST and for us in helping to do that. So it’s not just a legal obligation, it’s a moral one that we have as a big aggregator. And brokers really need variety to meet the diverse needs of their clients and that includes white label and branded options. How these products are distributed has to be done in a sustainable way that enables value to be maintained by the broker and with their clients and the product supplier as well.

MPA: Some critics argue incentivising brokers to offer white label products, by offering a reduced

aggregation fee for example, represents a conflict of interest. What do you think? BW: Brokers realise the positive impact of having a variety of products to deliver to their clients and that includes white labelling. The broker businesses benefit by writing home-branded mortgages, and there are upsides in that. But it needs to be on the basis that it’s sustainable and it meets the needs of their clients for their particular circumstances. So the economics – and you might have heard this talked about before with white labelling – does bode well for brokers and aggregators. But generating greater revenue could be an outcome of that, but it has to be and must be – and this is the sustainability piece – invested back into their businesses, the aggregator business, to improve what they offer to brokers, helping them be more successful and then passing on those benefits to their clients through servicing and support.

MPA: The fee-for-service debate has been receiving a lot of comment from brokers, as one financial industry analyst recently commented that brokers should charge a fee if they want to be seen as more than just a sales rep. What’s your take on that? BW: The customer chooses. I’ve watched with interest for many years the progress within the financial planning/wealth industry and its transition to fee-for-service. The way the third party broker industry operates at the moment, the client gets good choice and they get expert advice. Whether we need a fee-for-service model in order to make a difference, I’m not too sure. It’s something that will play out over time.

BROKERNEWS.COM.AU | 29  


SPECIAL REPORT / TOP 100 BROKERS

30 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  


MPA TOP 100 BROKERS

THE INDUSTRY’S

FINEST

REVEALED Each year, MPA highlights the best of the best in the mortgage industry. Once again, we present the industry’s most prestigious ranking, the Top 100 Brokers

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU | 31  


SPECIAL REPORT / TOP 100 BROKERS

T

ough times seem to be continuing unabated for brokers. The latest research from JP Morgan/Fujitsu shows that mortgage broking is becoming a less profitable pursuit, and that the number of brokers in the industry is continuing to shrink. Squeezes on commission coupled with weak demand for credit and the added cost of compliance have combined to form a tumultuous year for the industry. It should follow suit, then, that this year’s MPA Top 100 reflects these tough market conditions. But that’s not the case. Instead, brokers on the list hit an all-time high. In fact, the combined settlements of the Top 100 cracked the $6bn mark for the first time in four years. It seems brokers at the top of their game have had a banner year. Tough market or not, Australia’s top mortgage brokers are finding an unprecedented level of success. Read on to find out who made this year’s list, and how 2012 has been a watershed for the industry.

A note on methodology ... Entries were open to all accredited brokers, and were solicited through Australian Broker Online, MPA Online and direct contact with brokers. All loans considered had to be originated solely by the individual entrant, and settled during the 2011/12 financial year. Broker entries were then verified by aggregators, lenders and franchisors.

MPA TOP 100 (100-75) NAME

COMPANY

LOCATION

TOTAL VALUE OF LOANS FY 2012

TOTAL NUMBER OF LOANS

100

Richard Pusey

Switch Now Home Loans

Melbourne, VIC

$46,018,189

200

99

Ray Zahra

Aussie Home Loans

Carlton, VIC

$46,238,754

106

98

Phillip Allen

Integrated Finance Solutions

Sydney, NSW

$46,283,931

61

97

Adam Smyth

Willow and Oak

Mentone, VIC

$46,500,098

34

96

Bren Rodda

Loan Market

Darwin, NT

$46,568,057

123

95

Paul Mazzella

Brokerhouse

Shepparton, VIC

$46,638,993

181

94

Quentin Grofski

Aussie Home Loans

Morley, WA

$46,764,917

125

46m

93

David Perna

Aussie Home Loans

Rockhampton, QLD

$46,905,688

158

92

Joe De Sousa

Aussie Home Loans

Rockingham, WA

$47,117,935

119

91

Jamie Demas

Aussie Home Loans

Gold Coast, QLD

$47,601,263

105

The minimum amount of settlements needed to make the list this year. Up considerably from $38.2m last year, and from $22.7m in the list’s first year, 2005.

90

Matthew Wynd

Aussie Home Loans

Altona, VIC

$47,720,335

123

89

Michael Johnston

Aussie Home Loans

Riverdale, WA

$47,795,106

122

88

Aaron Richards

Aussie Home Loans

Melbourne, VIC

$47,861,686

115

87

Cameron Wiles

Smartmove

Neutral Bay, NSW

$48,387,501

99

86

Max Direen

Aussie Home Loans

Mackay, QLD

$48,511,528

138

85

Haley Bellamy

Smartmove

Neutral Bay, NSW

$48,646,499

99

84

Abel Cabrera

Aussie Home Loans

Melbourne, VIC

$49.175,302

114

83

Jon Somers

Aussie Home Loans

Bondi Junction, NSW

$49,568,054

101

82

Shane Bright

Aussie Home Loans

Wynnum, QLD

$49,947,463

130

81

Sam Walker

Aussie Home Loans

Adelaide, SA

$49,958,054

173

80

Paul Farrell

Aussie Home Loans

Gippsland, VIC

$50,554,265

120

79

Kerry Kalendra

Optim Financial

South Yarra, VIC

$50,676,784

148

78

Kelly Cameron-Tull

Get Real Finance

Fortitude Valley, QLD

$50,767,187

149

77

Dennis Mei

Better Option Home Loans

Ashfield, NSW

$51,097,746

129

76

Peter Gwynne

Financial Property

Gold Coast, QLD

$51,543,681

146

75

Kevin D’Silva

Financial Growth

Perth, WA

$51,585,415

74

32 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  


MPA TOP 100 (74-50) TOTAL VALUE OF LOANS FY2012

TOTAL NUMBER OF LOANS

RANK

NAME

COMPANY

LOCATION

74

Daniel Lanna

Centric Wealth

Sydney, NSW

$51,672,377

97

73

Patrick Bouquiaux

Tiffen & Co

Canberra, ACT

$51,716,044

176

72

Mardee Thomas

1 Street Home Loans

Rose Bay, NSW

$52,248,844

111

71

Bridget Headland

Aussie Home Loans

Darwin, NT

$52,398,043

125

70

Hayden Brown

John Hopkins Mortgages

Melbourne, VIC

$52,735,379

122

69

Matthew Kerr

Hudson Institute

Milton, QLD

$53,188,328

141

68

William Manfagas

Aussie Home Loans

Camden, NSW

$53,244,717

150

67

Paul Pisasale

Club Financial Services

Caroline Springs, VIC

$53,596,872

162

66

Steve Marshall

The Loan Arranger

Adelaide, SA

$54,324,515

214

65

David Wegener

Club Financial Services

Norwood, SA

$53,974,222

127

64

Nicole Seagren

Vision Finance Australia

Mt. Eliza, VIC

$54,274,637

203

63

Andy Liu

Global Vision Finance

Sydney, NSW

$54,324,515

100

62

Dean Riordan

Easi Finance

Perth, WA

$54,423,537

129

61

Richard Hoenig

Arleon Capital

Bondi Junction, NSW

60

Ian Simpson

Smartline

Balmain, NSW

59

George Antonas

Investloan

North Sydney, NSW

58

Peter Kiss

Aussie Home Loans

Caringbah, NSW

57

John Lucci

Loan Market

Ascot Vale, VIC

$55,717,010

129

56

Duane Brown

Aussie Home Loans

Rouse Hill, NSW

$55,927,150

146

st

$54,817,213

70

$55,000,000

129

$55,311,275

178

$55,469,881

132

55

Simon Chesson

AustAsia Finance Brokers

West Perth, WA

$57,751,665

144

54

George Tzilantonis

Aussie Home Loans

Berwick, VIC

$58,768,907

168

53

Marios Rokka

Loan Market

North Melbourne, VIC

$59,102,333

162

52

Sean Beavis

Aussie Home Loans

Newtown, NSW

$59,478,615

115

51

Rogan Yates

Yellow Brick Road

Sydney, NSW

$59,700,000

123

50

Matthew Rose

Aussie Home Loans

Adelaide, SA

$60,412,958

183

On the mend? The total volume written by the Top 100 hit an all-time high this year, and cracked $6bn for the first time since the GFC. It could be a sign that the market is on the mend, or that brokers are finding smarter ways to work. Either way, it’s a massive increase from the nearly $4bn in volume written by brokers on the inaugural MPA Top 100 list in 2005.

State of the states New South Wales and Victoria dominated the Top 100 list this year, with more than two-thirds of the Top 100 spread between the two states

2

9 13

5

35 33

3

474 The highest number of home loans settled to make the Top 100

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU | 33  


SPECIAL REPORT / TOP 100 BROKERS

A word from our partners ... Westpac is once again delighted to sponsor the 2012 MPA Top 100 Brokers list – the industry’s most prestigious broker ranking. This annual ‘hall-of-fame’ recognises the outstanding achievements of top-performing mortgage advisers who are leading the Australian mortgage market with courage and confidence. The most professional brokers continue to hold their own, remain resilient to economic woes and deliver throughout the most difficult times. Our industry continues to undertake considerable change, collectively; together we form a key part of an Australian financial landscape which is no longer isolated Tony MacRae from either world events or our own domestic challenges. In our current hyper-competitive yet lowgrowth economic environment, we all need to step up to drive a customer-centric agenda that delivers increased value and service to our customers through the traditional values of strength, quality, professionalism, passion, ongoing innovation and foresight which underpin the mortgage industry. We understand our customers need to feel confident about their financial decisions. In light of this, brokers will play a paramount role of being the trusted and independent advocate, helping to advise, tailor and facilitate customers’ needs. As Australia’s first bank with a history nearly 200 years strong, Westpac is uniquely placed to help you and your customers reach dreams, business goals and lifestyle aspirations. Being one of the first banks to support the broker industry, it has been particularly important for us to build great business partnerships and recognise that success is about delighting every single one of our customers and professional brokers. We also acknowledge that the ongoing recognition of those professional brokers at the frontlines is essential to the industry’s continued evolution. Through benchmarking the industry’s top performers, we can establish best practice methods that we can all aspire towards to bring out the best in the next generation of brokers. On behalf of the Westpac team, I would like to congratulate those that have made this year’s 2012 MPA Top 100 Brokers list, and encourage all brokers to learn from the success of others, to push ahead and be prepared for future opportunities.

Tony MacRae, general manager of mortgage broker distribution, Westpac

Women on the move The list was comprised of 87 men and 13 women, while last year’s list was made up of 89 men and 11 women. Here’s a look at how female mortgage brokers fared in the Top 100. RANK

NAME

SURNAME

COMPANY

8

Katrina

Rowlands

Mortgage Success

TOTAL VALUE OF LOANS FY 2012 $106,476,770

17

Melissa

Gielnik

Smart Lending

$83,996,069

29

Alana

Massignani

Growing Equity

31

Kellie

Lam

Abacus Home Loans

35

Kobi

Chillman

Members Alliance

$67,438,748

44

Louise

Lucas

Destiny- Melbourne

$62,266,700

49

Claire

Kilgore

National Mortgages

64

Nicole

Seagren

Vision Finance Australia

$54,274,637

71

Bridget

Headland

Aussie

$52,398,043

72

Mardee

Thomas

1st Street Home Loans

$52,248,844

78

Kelly

Cameron-Tull

Get Real Finance

85

Haley

Bellamy

Smartmove

$71,937,473 $70,305,841

$61,416,136

$50,767,187 $48,646,499

10

17,865 The total number of loans written by the Top 100

Colin Lamb Company: Mortgage Solutions Australia Location: Doubleview, WA Settled: $102m Number of loans: 279

Q: What do you expect from the market in the year ahead?

A: We are already seeing a rise in the

34

The lowest number of home loans settled to make the Top 100

34 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  

housing market in Perth. Houses are selling quicker and there seem to be a lot more buyers in the marketplace.


Gerard Tiffen Company: Tiffen & Co Location: Canberra, ACT Settled: $102.2m Number of loans: 396

9

Q: What qualities make for a successful mortgage broker?

A: Accountability, being able to take responsibility for yourself, and the ability to create strong relationships.

Katrina Rowlands Company: Mortgage Success Location: Wollongong, NSW Settled: $106.5m Number of loans: 343

8

Q: You’ve managed to stay in the top 12 on MPA’s Top 100 list every year since its inception, including topping the inaugural list. How have you sustained your success?

26

19

The number of Aussie AFG was second, brokers who made the with 19 brokers list, the most of any represented in aggregator the Top 100

THE TOP 10 This year saw nine of last year’s Top 10 repeat; no easy feat in the MPA Top 100.

A: It’s the continued focus on the client’s best outcome. I continue to believe I can make a difference. That’s the secret; knowing you can make a difference and taking control of the process to make that difference. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a bank say that their turnaround times have changed to four or five days, and I’ve had to say that may be OK, but not for my clients.

NO EASY TASK The MPA Top 100 is a tough list to crack even once, let alone multiple times. Illustrating this fact, 54 of the Top 100 are repeats from last year, while 46 are new entries or re-entries from previous years.

$1,197,541,142 The Top 10 wrote a combined total of $1,197,541,142 in residential mortgages in the 2012 financial year.

3,155 That’s 3,155 individual settlements

By point of comparison, the inaugural Top 10 in 2005 wrote 3,038 loans, but their combined settlements totalled $732,966,676.

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU | 35  


SPECIAL REPORT / TOP 100 BROKERS

7

Ruan Burger Company: Home Loans Etc. Location: Gladstone, QLD Settled: $111.1m Number of loans: 361

Q: What, if anything, have you done differently this year?

6

A: I was given the luxury of time! We

introduced new staff and roles giving me back time to reinforce and build on my relationships with existing and new clients. Saying that, we can always do with more.

Jeremy Fisher Company: 1st Street Home Loans Location: Rose Bay, NSW Settled: $125.7m Number of loans: 173

Q: What are the main challenges you’ve faced over the past year? A: We have been developing a new website and enhancing our

social media presence. Both of these tasks have been challenging as they require the knowledge of experts in those areas and also extra time needs to be allocated to working with those experts to develop an effective and consistent approach.

MPA TOP 100 (49-11) RANK

NAME

49

Claire

48

Kristian

47

TOTAL VALUE OF LOANS FY 2012

TOTAL NUMBER OF LOANS

COMPANY

LOCATION

Kilgore

National Mortgages

Belrose, NSW

$61,416,136

Moore

FAJ Home Loans

Fremantle, WA

$61,513,488

141

Serge

Scekic

Aussie

Balgowlah, NSW

$61,718,364

139

46

Ian

Jordan

The Selector Group

Sydney, NSW

$61,887,678

201

45

Ben

Eick

LJ Hooker Finance

Hunter Valley, NSW

$62,140,000

282

44

Louise

Lucas

Destiny- Melbourne

Fitzroy North, VIC

$62,266,700

192

43

Josh

Egan

Club Financial Services

Gippsland VIC

$62,577,671

293

42

Ross

Le Quesne

Aussie

Parramatta

$62,842,275

209

41

Raymond

Backhouse

Ray Backhouse Financial Services

Osborne Park WA

$62,879,938

163

40

Peter

Goldberg

Pinnacle Capital

Sydney, NSW

39

Simon

Orbell

Smartmove

Neutral Bay, NSW

38

Max

Ivanoff

Mortgage Fair

Elsternwick VIC

$65,615,729

137

37

Alex

Shumsky

Loan Market

Oakleigh, Victoria

$66,871,023

203

36

Cameron

Morgan

Empower Wealth

North Melbourne VIC

$67,326,830

205

35

Kobi

Chillman

Members Alliance

Perth, WA

$67,438,748

226

34

Jim

Henwood-White

eSelect Finance

Richmond, VIC

$67,538,883

186

33

Eugene

Sholomov

MINFIN Australia

Melbourne CBD, VIC

$68,027,425

105

32

Robert

Hodson

Aussie

Melbourne, VIC

$69,958,644

162

31

Kellie

Lam

Abacus Home Loans

Sydney NSW

$70,305,841

140

30

Kevin

Agent

The Australian Lending & Investment Centre

Melbourne, VIC

$71,473,250

198

29

Alana

Massignani

Growing Equity

Runaway Bay, QLD

$71,937,473

218

28

Ross

Laurenson

Yellow Brick Road

Frankston, VIC

$72,200,000

247

27

Jason

Basseal

Loan Market Earlwood

Earlwood, NSW

$74,499,740

195

26

Chris

Bibby

Accurate Financial

Port Melbourne, VIC

25

William

Chen

Pacific Mortgage Centre

Sydney NSW

24

Alistair

Baker

Aussie

Melbourne, VIC

$75,314,265

201

23

David

Friend

Tiffen & Co

Canberra, ACT

$75,791,833

234

22

Troy

Cameron

Stratique Finance

Wembley WA

$76,859,988

235

21

Brett

Amos

Seven Point Finance

Melbourne, VIC

$78,289,469

217

20

Daniel

O’Brien

PFS Financial Services

Bella Vista, NSW

$79,820,420

301

19

Charles

Howitt

Howitt Partners

South Yarra, VIC

$81,219,000

142

18

Glenn

English

Aussie

Carnegie, VIC

$82,614,702

220

17

Melissa

Gielnik

Smart Lending

Melton, VIC

$83,996,069

261

16

Louis

Kovanis

Genius Loan Solutions

Sydney, VIC

$84,724,903

111

15

Scott

Marshall

The Loan Arranger

Adelaide, SA

$85,109,222

375

14

Daniel

Esposito

Loan Market Manningham

Manningham, VIC

$86,483,122

160

13

Jeremy

Yuen

Ace Home Loans

Parramatta, NSW

$87,742,165

175

12

Stewart

Syron

Zinc Financial

Collaroy, NSW

$89,500,621

245

11

Peter

Ellis

Oxygen Home Loans

Coogee, NSW

$97,368,000

152

36 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  

241

$63,875,701

175

$64,311,013

132

$74,641,150

169

$75,000,000

200


MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU | 37  


SPECIAL REPORT / TOP 100 BROKERS

Top tips from the Top 10 MPA’s Top 10 Brokers give their advice on how to succeed in a tough industry

10|

“Consistency, no matter if it is with clients, lenders or the way you put an application together. Also, setting realistic expectations for clients and looking beyond their needs for today but looking at their future goals” Colin Lamb, Mortgage Solutions Australia

09|

“We’ve concentrated on systems, education and goal-setting” Gerard Tiffen, Tiffen & Co

08|

“Work on each individual deal as though it’s the most important, and treat increases with as much importance and respect as you treat brand new clients” Katrina Rowlands, Mortgage Success

07|

“You need to be able to give value to any one client and be willing to go the extra mile. People are smart. They can tell when you truly care. With this trust comes openness to hear advice. From there the money will look after itself” Ruan Burger, Home Loans Etc.

06|

“For a mortgage broker to be successful they should be very organised, committed to doing the best for clients in terms of service and products, have good knowledge of the available products and market developments, and be a very effective communicator” Jeremy Fisher, 1st Street Home Loans

5

05|

“Be proactive, not reactive. Be professional, ensuring you always follow up your clients. Show integrity; be flexible and dedicated to the end goal of helping your client achieve their dream of owning their own home” Justin Doobov, Intelligent Finance

04|

“It’s about having a set of not only financial guidelines, but moral guidelines, and being big enough to say to a client, ‘You can’t afford this’ ” Colin Lamb, Mortgage Solutions Australia

03|

“Putting the client first and meeting the clients’ needs, passion about what you do, professionalism and knowledge, excellent customer service and hard work” Raymond Xue, ACA Solution

02|

“You definitely need to have quality referral sources which provide the ability to get up and running” Warren Dworcan, Rate Detective Home Loans

4

Rael Bricker Company: House + Homeloans Location: Perth, WA Settled: $141m

Q: What successes have you seen over the past year?

A: We’ve got new referrers coming onboard because of what we’re doing for other referrers. A lot of it is not active marketing. It’s just networking and by reputation. Every referrer – every real estate agent, every accountant – has a broker knocking on their door. You’re not going to win the deal by knocking on their door. You win by someone telling them how good you are, and getting through their door in an elevated position.

Combined Volume of Top 100 $6,774,205,639

$6,129,319,519 $5,789,039,598 $5,862,456,137 $5,818,697,259 $5,849,249,041

01|

“You need to have passion and experience within the industry that allows you to be a standout, and not just treat the role as a day-to-day job” Mark Davis, Australian Lending and Investment Centre

Justin Doobov Company: Intelligent Finance Location: Bondi Junction, NSW Settled: $132.6m Number of loans: 245

Q: How has this year compared to previous years in terms of your business?

$3,956,532,757

$3,904,099,022

2005

2006

3

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Raymond Xue Company: ACA Mortgage Solution Location: Sydney, NSW Settled: $151.8 Number of loans: 287

A: The number of enquiries has definitely increased this year. A large

Q: What do you expect from the market in the year ahead?

amount of these enquiries are from people with existing mortgages who want to engage us not just to refinance their loans to a low interest rate, but to change the loan structure to help them pay off their loans faster.

RBA’s rate cuts will stimulate stagnant property sales in spite of the uncertainty of the world economy.

38 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  

A: I’m optimistic over the next year’s business. The


2

1

Warren Dworcan Company: Rate Detective Home Loans Location: Perth, WA Settled: $157m Number of loans: 424

Q: How have you gone about adding new staff?

Mark Davis Company: The Australian Lending & Investment Centre Location: Melbourne, VIC Settled: $169.6m Number of loans: 474

A:  Something we used when we took on staff is a

Q: You’re number one in the MPA Top 100 for the second year in a row. How have you sustained your success?

personality test to see how people fit into our social culture, and to see their strengths and weaknesses and find the way to communicate with them to get the best results.

my own processes as well as banking processes. If you keep evolving with the customer and what their needs are, you stay ahead of the race.

A: By continuing to change what I do daily and challenge

Long way to the top: Settlements for MPA’s Top Broker 2005-2012

$170.1m

$163.4m $141.3m

$122.3m $85.9m

$169.6m

$123.6m

$94.9m 2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Top troubles facing the industry The Top 10 give their take on challenges ahead for brokers

10| 09| 08|

“Tighter legislation, which we embrace and are proactive about, including in our systems and approach” Colin Lamb, Mortgage Solutions Australia “Education and the ageing population of the industry. ” Gerard Tiffen, Tiffen & Co

Our biggest challenge is growing our market share again, because it’s getting so much more competitive. We seem to be in another cycle of competition between the channels” Katrina Rowlands, Mortgage Success

this, we have been employing staff who have not had experience in mortgages, but have the right attitude, and we can teach them everything about mortgages.” Justin Doobov, Intelligent Finance

04|

“The biggest issue is the competition generated by banks who – on one hand – understand that 50% of their business comes from brokers, and – on the other hand – create models like UBank that undercut and undermine everything they’ve tried to create in the broker channel” Rael Bricker, House + Homeloans

07|

03|

06|

02|

“Compliance remains a big time issue, but the flip side is that it could also prove to be a valuable asset in years to come if it reinforces to clients that we are truly professional people and trusted advisors.” Ruan Burger, Home Loans Etc. “Many brokers are still focusing solely on home loans when clients should be able to receive a full and complete service. Insurance is one aspect of financial planning which clients should be made aware of when taking out a home loan and many clients in the marketplace are being exposed to unnecessary and avoidable risk” Jeremy Fisher, 1st Street Home Loans

05|

“Finding new staff has been hard. Most young people don’t realise that there is a good career in mortgages. To overcome

“No trail commission for the first year for some lenders and clawbacks within two years is a threat for the mortgage broker, as there is no penalty (DEFs) for the client. I must maintain a high service level to retain the customer for at least two years” Raymond Xue, ACA Solution “A couple of lenders are taking reasonably bold moves to transact with home loans online. That’s a sign that banks are potentially looking at alternative channels.” Warren Dworcan, Rate Detective Home Loans

01|

“The biggest challenge is the amount of dilution that is occurring with banks wanting writers to be jacks-of-all-trades, whereas a focused business is far more efficient” Mark Davis, Australian Lending and Investment Centre

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU BROKERNEWS.COM.AU | 39  


BUSINESS STRATEGY / MEDIA

O

ne of the great pleasures of my job is working with brokers who are passionate about the positive impact they can make in peoples’ lives. Being a mortgage broker is about being objective and even-handed with your clients and in turn providing a service that’s incredibly unique. What many mortgage brokers don’t realise is that it’s an incredibly newsworthy profession. So exactly what is newsworthy about being a mortgage broker and who would want to read what you have to say?

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BUSINESS STRATEGY / MEDIA

1

Find news within your business and your community. What are you seeing that you could be telling the whole community?

2

Understand issues and solve problems. Comment sections and blogs are great places to listen to your consumers and understand the specific issues they’re having.

3

Utilise available resources within your aggregator. A good writer and publicity guru can help you communicate your messages in a way that journalists and readers appreciate. They can also help you establish contacts in the media.

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You don’t have to look far to find an avalanche of opinions on home finance and banking. Take the monthly barrage of opinion pieces in the mainstream media after every RBA meeting. There’s a tone in the majority of editorial that reflects consumers are helpless to combat the swinging pendulum of interest rates and that those in power haven’t a clue. You’ll find a variety of opinions where writers try and amalgamate the most sinister adjectives to those who make decisions regarding interest rates – all in the hopes of stirring up a debate fuelled with fear and anger.

PROBLEM SOLVING Where a mortgage broker can add value and cut through sensationalised or biased opinions is by taking a step back and really assessing the situation – creating a tangible and trustworthy message that a confused or upset consumer can act upon. Specifically, a mortgage broker can draw upon the knowledge they have to offer solutions to problems a reader may have, such as a bank not passing a full RBA rate cut. If a consumer is upset about their interest rate, put their situation in perspective for them – does a better product exist? Have the full implications of switching home loans been considered? The point here is to not join into the chorus of yays and nays but to find that middle ground where you can educate specific readers who are looking for answers. As an example, if you were to move to Canada and I said that you had to pick a new favourite ice hockey team, who would you trust to help you with this decision? Some would rely on friends to steer them in the right direction and others would go off and do their own research by comparing one team’s stats to another, while others would rely on reading the most up-to-date opinions and news. Now, whose opinion would you trust more – the passionate and loyal fan who gloats about how good their team is and how another team only exists to lose to that team? Or would you trust a fan of the sport who offered the pros and cons of each team – someone who identified which teams would best fit certain personalities? I can certainly appreciate some good banter, but if I’m making an important decision such as picking a sports team, or choosing a home loan, I’m going to follow the advice of the most objective personality who offers me solutions.


BUILDING TRUST A broker has the unique ability to offer unrivalled transparency when discussing home loans because the discussion isn’t limited to a single product or lender – you can discuss nearly the entire loan market. Personally, I would also recommend not mentioning specific lenders in the media. Firstly, you don’t want to get confused as a representative of the lender, secondly it is all about being objective and unbiased with your assessments of the market. Sure, it’s important to demonstrate your expertise in talking favourably about a topic or product you believe in, but to build trust with readers, to influence them to the take action on your message, you need to be objective about what you’re telling them. A specific but simple example of this would be explaining what lenders mortgage insurance is. While it is an additional cost that consumers would rather avoid, it’s a huge consideration for anyone purchasing a property. Good editorial on LMI would explain that the

cost of LMI varies not just on how much you borrow against the value of your property but also that different lenders apply LMI in different ways. If a customer is unhappy with either paying the insurance or interested in reducing the cost, you can offer solutions to set up a budget to maximise a borrower’s savings over time to avoid the cost altogether or to look at other lenders who have different LMI premiums. There’s a common saying within newspapers that “if it bleeds, it leads,” with the general assumption being the most controversial stories will generate the most interest from readers. That’s fine for some; however, brokers can be the band-aid that stops the bleeding.

Paul Smith is the corporate spokesperson for Loan Market and provides media services for over 450 mortgage brokers. He can also help you choose your favourite ice hockey team. Send him an email at Paul.Smith@ loanmarket.com.au if you’re interested in learning more.

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU | 43  


A night to remember The 2012 AMAs lauded the industry’s best. Here’s a look at the glamour and glory of the industry’s premier event

In what has been a challenging year for the industry, the annual Australian Mortgage Awards provided a welcome opportunity to recognise the successes and achievements of the best brokers and brokerages in the country. MC Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson kept the crowd in high spirits throughout the night while guests enjoyed their gourmet three-course meal and soulful tunes from The Voice star Darren Percival. Now in its 11th year, the AMAs are synonymous with industry excellence. Once again, the mortgage industry honoured the best of the best in a night that will be remembered for years to come.

www.australianmortgageawards.com.au


Winners

OFFICIAL EVENT PARTNER

LAWLER CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS MOST EFFECTIVE INTERNET PRESENCE COMMONWEALTH BANK

“It’s the third time we’ve won this award in the last five years, so it’s very exciting. [The AMAs] are a highlight of the year. Everyone’s worked hard all year and it’s great to get together and celebrate successes” Simon Elwig, general manager sales support and channel development, Commonwealth Bank

Lawler Chartered Accountants is a national award-winning accounting and advisory group delivering smart, honest financial and strategic advice to decision makers in business. The firm is consistently acknowledged for their quality of client care and strength of advice and in 2012 was recognised as the Best Firm as rated by C-suite and Best Victorian Firm as well as Finalists in Best NSW Firm and Best Tax Provider categories. Located in Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle, Rockhampton and Tamworth, they also support clients internationally through Geneva Group International.

MPA BEST INDUSTRY SERVICE

BEST INDUSTRY ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN

RP DATA

COMMONWEALTH BANK

“I’m humbled because we’ve only been five years in this industry, even though we’re 30 years old. I’m very proud of the RP Data team, because this is a team effort” Graham Mirabito, CEO, RP Data

Now in its 11th year, MPA continues to be the key resource that mortgage brokers and industry professionals turn to for in-depth industry issues, market trends, business analysis and intelligence. Each issue is packed with updated relevant information including: latest mortgage products; diversification strategies; sales and marketing tools; career education and training; regulation and legislation updates. MPA is very well known for its annual surveys which not only recognise key individuals and their accomplishments but provide a unique snapshot of an industry that is continually evolving.

“It was a real surprise and a real recognition of the CAN campaign, which is such an optimistic message out in the market” Patrick Waite, executive manager of marketing and communications for third party and mobile banking, Commonwealth Bank

5 OCTOBER, 2012 | SYDNEY TOWN HALL


BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM AN INDIVIDUAL OFFICE

WESTPAC BEST COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

CHOICE HOME LOANS BLUE MOUNTAINS

PINK FINANCE

“I am so passionate about what I do. I live and breathe it every day. It’s just who I am. Come the GFC when everything was so negative, I just wanted to show how we could be positive; that we could work hard, do well and give back as well” Nicole Cannon, director, Pink Finance

“This is our third year to win customer service. Customer service is what our industry is all about. We’re sales orientated, but without having a customer service focus you don’t have a business” Peita Davies, Choice Home Loans Blue Mountains

Westpac is Australia’s first bank and first company, with 194 years experience helping customers to achieve their financial goals through good times and bad. Westpac are passionate about, and extremely proud of their deep heritage. Today, Westpac strives to offer its mortgage broker partners, first class service and a broad range of award-winning home loan products, with the focus firmly on the future to delight them by placing brokers at the centre of everything they do.

ST ANDREW’S AUSTRALIA BEST AGGREGATOR BDM JEANETTE ROWLAND, CHOICE AGGREGATION SERVICES

“It’s a tough job out there [for brokers] and you’ve got to get on their level and understand where they’re coming from. Sometimes brokers are out there on their own, and having someone – if they’re having a bad day – who they can call who will understand is a great benefit” Jeanette Rowland, NSW/ACT state manager, Choice Aggregation Services

St Andrew’s is a leading Australian insurer with a strong history in working with business partners to deliver specialist, innovative and streamlined insurance solutions. We have a long history of providing consumer credit insurance to Australians and in 2012 we developed ProtectMyHomeLoan, a Mortgage Protection product specifically for the broker market.

www.australianmortgageawards.com.au


Winners

OFFICIAL EVENT PARTNER

BEST NON-BANK BDM

AUSTRALIAN BROKER BEST BANK BDM

STEFANIA RIOTTO, ADVANTEDGE

NICK MURRAY, NAB BROKER

“The business behind me is fantastic, so having a great business behind me allows me to do my job to the optimum capacity. Having a great BDM is up there with the most important part of getting lending” Nick Murray, senior relationship manager, NAB Broker “It’s all about the people in the end who need the loans and brokers need us to make that happen” Stefania Riotto, BDM, Advantedge

Australian Broker is the only fortnightly publication available to the mortgage and finance broking industry and is firmly established as the most reliable and independent news source. Australian Broker is the industry’s only truly dedicated news magazine with fresh, hard-hitting news and views on all the latest developments as they happen. Australian Broker takes an in-depth look into a particular product area, market sector or industry topic and provides information on all the essential facts, figures and background research.

ING DIRECT BROKER OF THE YEAR – COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE RANJIT THAMBYRAJAH, ACUITY FUNDING

“I think it’s a great time for commercial brokers. I encourage [residential] brokers to partner with someone who knows what they’re doing, because you have to be very good at putting the submission together” Ranjit Thambyrajah, managing director, Acuity Funding

ING DIRECT continues to be a strong advocate of the broker channel in Australia. As ING DIRECT is a branchless bank, it has a strong relationship with the broker channel; intermediaries account for more than 90% of home loan production. ING DIRECT views its broker partners as its branch managers - an integral part of ING DIRECT strategy going forward, reinforcing the banks strong and ongoing commitment to brokers.

5 OCTOBER, 2012 | SYDNEY TOWN HALL


OFFICIAL EVENT PARTNER

PEPPER HOME LOANS BROKER OF THE YEAR – NON-CONFORMING

ALI GROUP BROKER OF THE YEAR – INSURANCE (LOAN PROTECTION AND LIFE)

GRAHAM REIBELT, OASIS MORTGAGE GROUP

ROBERT TREWIN, ROBERT TREWIN BROKERING

“Clients are number one, and if you look after your clients on a daily basis the rest takes care of itself. [Insurance] has always been very important, and a lot of brokers are looking at diversifying into it” Robert Trewin, managing director, Robert Trewin Brokering

Pepper is a pioneer of the Australian specialist mortgage sector and is one of Australia’s leading non-bank financial institutions.  Pepper primarily focuses on providing home loans to customers who do not meet the acceptance criteria of banks, and other lenders, in particular the self-employed, small business owners and borrowers with irregular income, an unsubstantiated savings history or a prior record of minor credit impairment. 

ALI Group is a specialist risk insurance business committed to ensuring loan consultants can offer their clients convenient and timely access to affordable loan protection.  ALI products are easy to understand and obtain and the claims process is straightforward.  We are the leader in this space, having provided over $25 billion in cover to over 100,000 Australians.

COMMONWEALTH BANK QUALITY YOUNG GUN OF THE YEAR – FRANCHISE

COMMONWEALTH BANK QUALITY YOUNG GUN OF THE YEAR – INDEPENDENT

MONICA VAN RIET, MORTGAGE CHOICE

JOSH BARTLETT, LOAN MARKET CHELTENHAM

“I have a great support network, a great partner, tears, blood, sweat, my family and great support from Mortgage Choice”

“This is recognition of all the hard work, and it’s great to show your referrers that I am good at what I do. Hopefully it’s an opportunity to bring new people onboard”

Monica Van Riet, managing director, Mortgage Choice Darlington

Josh Bartlett, Loan Market Cheltenham

With a vision to be Australia’s finest financial services organisation through excelling in customer service, Commonwealth Bank is market leader in the third party broker market and the Australian home loan market. Commonwealth Bank offer strength in uncertain times and are determined to be different through their partnership approach to doing quality and mutually profitable business with mortgage brokers.

www.australianmortgageawards.com.au


ST.GEORGE BANK BROKER OF THE YEAR – FRANCHISE

FINSURE BROKER OF THE YEAR – INDEPENDENT

CATHY ANDERSON, SMARTLINE

MARK DAVIS, THE AUSTRALIAN LENDING AND INVESTMENT CENTRE

“Every day is a different day, and I have the ability to change people’s lives. I love what I do. I love saving people a lot of money so they can eat it, drink it or wear it!”

“I live and breathe [mortgage broking], which is probably difficult for my partner! But when you love something it’s fantastic, and you become good at it”

Cathy Anderson, Smartline

Mark Davis, director, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre

St.George Bank is one of Australia’s leading Retail and Business Banking brands. At the bank’s core is a close relationship with its customers. This remains the cornerstone of future strategies and an important tradition that differentiates St. George from other Australian banks.  Our goal is to be the best mortgage lender for our broker partners, providing award winning products and service and more satisfied customers.

Finsure Finance and Insurance Pty Ltd is a rapidly growing aggregation business offering Australian mortgage brokers full support, higher commission structures which include flat fee option, marketing, qualified leads and a cutting edge software.  Our core business objective of providing more to brokers has challenged the traditional broker to aggregator relationship and goes beyond the standard industry level of expectation and excellence. 

FINSURE NEW BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR LOAN STUDIO

“We’ve got a great team. We’ve spent two years building a great back office and sales team, and it’s really paid off” Colin Sheppard, managing director, Loan Studio

Finsure Finance and Insurance Pty Ltd is a rapidly growing aggregation business offering Australian mortgage brokers full support, higher commission structures which include flat fee option, marketing, qualified leads and a cutting edge software.  Our core business objective of providing more to brokers has challenged the traditional broker to aggregator relationship and goes beyond the standard industry level of expectation and excellence. 

www.australianmortgageawards.com.au


Winners

OFFICIAL EVENT PARTNER

CITIBANK MORTGAGES BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR – DIVERSIFICATION

ING DIRECT FRANCHISE BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR

MORTGAGE ONE

CHOICE HOME LOANS – BERWICK

“We feel [diversification] is very important. We’ve embraced it from day one and diversified our loan offering”

“You get a lot of support from a franchise business, the name is out there without us having to do a lot of extra work and it’s a great network”

Michael Khoury, manager, Mortgage One

Leith Wickstein, general manager, Choice Home Loans Berwick

For over 200 years, Citi has worked to fulfil the unique ambitions of our clients by being the bank that connects better—bringing people the best ideas and resources anywhere in an increasingly dynamic and open world. With over 25 years of experience in the Australian banking market, Citibank continues to be committed to the mortgage broking industry and supporting you and your clients to provide flexible and convenient banking, giving access to a world of possibilities.

ING DIRECT continues to be a strong advocate of the broker channel in Australia.  As ING DIRECT is a branchless bank, it has a strong relationship with the broker channel; intermediaries account for more than 90% of home loan production.  ING DIRECT views its broker partners as its branch managers - an integral part of ING DIRECT strategy going forward, reinforcing the banks strong and ongoing commitment to brokers.

5 OCTOBER, 2012 | SYDNEY TOWN HALL


OFFICIAL EVENT PARTNER

NATIONAL FINANCE CLUB BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR (≤5 STAFF) – INDEPENDENT INTELLIGENT FINANCE

“We care about every single client. It’s not about the profit. It’s about making sure the customer is happy, and we know if every client is happy they’ll refer more people” Justin Doobov, Intelligent Finance

Established in 2002, National Finance Club (NFC) specialises in providing lending solutions to borrowers via its key distribution channel of industry-accredited brokers Australia-wide. Due to its close ties with a number of fund providers, NFC is able to provide brokers with competitive rates and flexible commission structures, which see it placed as one of the leading mortgage managers in the non-bank sector.

1300 HOME LOAN BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR (>6 STAFF) – INDEPENDENT

AUSTRALIAN BDM OF THE YEAR

TIFFEN & CO

STEFANIA RIOTTO, ADVANTEDGE

“[You’ve got to] build relationships, educate yourself, learn to meet the right people and work with the right people, and you’ll go far” Gerard Tiffen, director, Tiffen & Co

1300HOMELOAN is a leading marketing business that supports the best independent mortgage brokers in Australia.  Brokers from any mortgage aggregator can join under the brand through a flat licence fee model and enjoy the benefit of exclusivity to postcode regions. We are one of the largest advertisers in the industry via national television, radio, online and sponsorship campaigns.

“BDMs are a linchpin between lenders and the people seeking the loans. They’re really key to making that process as smooth as possible” Stefania Riotto, BDM, Advantedge

www.australianmortgageawards.com.au


AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL GOLDEN MORGIE FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IN THE MORTGAGE INDUSTRY KEVIN MATTHEWS, AFG

“I am both honoured and humbled to receive this award. As every business leader knows, there really is no such thing as doing it on your own. It is my privilege to work with some of the best in the business, and I pay particular tribute to Brett McKeon, Malcolm Watkins and Bradley McGougan. We started the business 18 years ago – what a ride it has been!” Kevin Matthews, AFG

Established in 2002, National Finance Club (NFC) specialises in providing lending solutions to borrowers via its key distribution channel of industry-accredited brokers Australia-wide. Due to its close ties with a number of fund providers, NFC is able to provide brokers with competitive rates and flexible commission structures, which see it placed as one of the leading mortgage managers in the non-bank sector.

NAB BROKER AUSTRALIAN BROKERAGE OF THE YEAR TIFFEN & CO

“We need to make sure we stay diligent with making sure we still offer choice. It’s important to offer people opportunity and diversification” Gerard Tiffen, director, Tiffen & Co

NAB Broker is the specialist distribution business within NAB Personal Banking responsible for managing relationships with mortgage brokers and aggregator groups. NAB Broker has the ability to package a range of products and services from every part of the organisation where it makes sense for a mortgage broker and their clients, including the lending platform Homeside, NAB mortgages and consumer banking solutions, MLC personal insurance and Allianz general insurance.

www.australianmortgageawards.com.au


Winners

OFFICIAL EVENT PARTNER

COMMONWEALTH BANK AUSTRALIAN YOUNG GUN OF THE YEAR JOSH BARTLETT, LOAN MARKET

“It’s definitely tough out there, but a lot of financial reward can be found in broking. We need more young blood” Josh Bartlett

With a vision to be Australia’s finest financial services organisation through excelling in customer service, Commonwealth Bank is market leader in the third party broker market and the Australian home loan market. Commonwealth Bank offer strength in uncertain times and are determined to be different through their partnership approach to doing quality and mutually profitable business with mortgage brokers.

WESTPAC AUSTRALIAN BROKER OF THE YEAR MARK DAVIS, THE AUSTRALIAN LENDING AND INVESTMENT CENTRE

“[The AMAs] are the most prestigious awards. AMAs are where it is, and we love to be part of it” Mark Davis, director, The Australian Lending and Investment Centre

Westpac is Australia’s first bank and first company, with 194 years experience helping customers to achieve their financial goals through good times and bad. Westpac are passionate about, and extremely proud of their deep heritage. Today, Westpac strives to offer its mortgage broker partners, first class service and a broad range of award-winning home loan products, with the focus firmly on the future to delight them by placing brokers at the centre of everything they do.

5 OCTOBER, 2012 | SYDNEY TOWN HALL


FEATURE / STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

RELATIONSHIP MATTERS Strategic partners are not only an important source of referrals, they can add value to your overall client service offering. Mortgage brokers explain how they make referral relationships work for them… DOMINIQUE BERGEL-GRANT, LEAPFROG FINANCIAL Leapfrog Financial director and principal adviser Dominique Bergel-Grant has taken a multi-pronged approach to getting referrals. In early 2012, she entered into a strategic partnership with an accountant. As it’s still early days, Bergel-Grant says the emphasis has been on finding common ground between the businesses, and helping her partner realise what referral opportunities exist for both parties. “I’m just really trying to encourage them to pass referrals on even if they’re not sure if it’s relevant; at least starting that conversation with the clients.” Bergel-Grant, who has a financial planning background, has been a mortgage broker since 2002. While she previously worked for a large Outlook Financial Solutions business, she decided to open her own business just over a year and a half ago. In another effort to grow referrals, she joined 1300 Home Loans in March. Leapfrog Financial pays for a licence for three postcodes and receives referral leads generated by their national marketing campaign.

56 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  

“From my point of view it’s really about accessing clients that wouldn’t otherwise necessarily knock on my door, and people that are comforted by a bigger brand and national advertising.” To date, she says the national broker network has generated leads fairly regularly. “At the end of the day, you hope you make a profit from the leads you get, but really it’s about doing a good job and getting referrals from those leads.” Bergel-Grant formed a third strategic relationship that has been important to her business, this one with the Italian Chamber of Commerce. In conjunction with another accountancy group, Bergel-Grant runs six seminars per year for members, speaking on a range of topics. “The seminars aren’t necessarily related to mortgages, but are really about building my brand and my reputation as someone who brings people together in a networking sense.” For the moment, Bergel-Grant is content with these referral avenues and is not looking to add more strategic partnerships to the mix. “And it’s also about securing and making sure those existing relationships are strong.”


ANDREW WRIGHT, SMARTLINE – PENNANT HILLS For Smartline broker Andrew Wright, referrals are not the main goal of his strategic partnership. “I think helping each other’s businesses is actually secondary, it’s really to help our clients to get a better overall service. That’s the driving force.” Wright launched a BNI group in Pennant Hills NSW five years ago, and through that referral group met an accountant, who has since become a key strategic partner. “We’ve known each other for a number of years and we talked about ways to help each other’s businesses by being more closely involved.” Six months ago, Wright moved his business into his strategic partner’s office. Being based in the same location has several advantages, he says. “It’s great. When I have clients visiting me, I ask them if they have an accountant. If they don’t, then I refer them to Ron. And then they have the ability to meet him on the spot – he’s made a face-to-face contact and the client can choose to go ahead with that relationship or not. We’ve referred a number of clients to each other that way and I think it works well.” Wright says that the partnership is also reassuring in that he knows his clients are getting great tax advice and he’s able to provide them with a broader service. The ability to share client information if also helpful, Wright says, particularly in situations with complex business structures. If Wright needs clarification or has any questions, then with the client’s permission, he can go through the issue with his strategic partner and get answers immediately. The relationship is also helping Wright diversify his business into SMSF lending. His partner has been involved in that area for several years and has an extensive SMSF client database. As a result, Wright has the ability to leverage off his partner’s experience and knowledge.

Super boosters Looking to ramp up your referral relationship? Try these tactics: • Meet regularly • Mention strategic partner in client newsletters • Arrange client seminars together • Display strategic partners business cards or marketing materials in office • Nominate your strategic partner for an award • Thank them occasionally with gift or card

Mitigating risks Creating strategic partnerships is not without risks. Poor service from a strategic partner reflects badly on your business and could ultimately cost you the client. There is also the potential for the partnership to be one-sided, with you giving much more than you get. To mitigate these risks, consider these questions: • Does your strategic partner have the appropriate credentials/licences in place? • What reputation do they have? • How long have they been operating? • Are they clear on the relationship and responsibilities of the partnership? • Does your partner understand how your business operates? • Are you meeting regularly with your strategic partners to reinforce the relationship? • Would you personally use their services?

MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU BROKERNEWS.COM.AU | 57  


FEATURE / STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

PAULINE SULTANA, PRIDE MORTGAGE SERVICES Before Pauline Sultana, owner of Pride Mortgage Services, refers any of her clients to another professional, she likes to use them herself. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to refer my clients to someone that I don’t trust, or that I wouldn’t use myself. By having used their services, you feel comfortable and confident to refer and not only are they looking after your clients, they’re giving you referrals back.” While Sultana is also a member of Business Networking International, she has a direct affiliation with an accountant and a solicitor – both of whom she met through the referral group. Through regular weekly meetings, Sultana forged a close relationship with an accountant and four years ago actually started using the accountant’s services herself. “We just bounce off each other,” she says. “As a broker I often get asked by clients for a recommendation for an accountant, and any clients they have are referred to me.” They also coordinate several investment seminars a year together.

58 | MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU  

Her other relationship is with a solicitor who has a conveyancing arm. According to Sultana, after the solicitor had an opportunity to see how she conducts business and her duty of care to clients, they offered to give her clients a reduced fee for their costs. As a result, her clients save more than $500. “The solicitor knows that when dealing with me, I generally sign up the clients with their docs and so they don’t then have to go back again, which means the solicitor is only seeing them once. So it’s great, because my clients save and I’m working with somebody that keeps me informed, and vice versa. Since then, if the conveyancers have deals that have fallen over from other brokers, they now pass them onto me. They also have a family law firm section and I get their family law clients. So that’s worked well.” Sultana estimates that she receives about 10–15% of business from her referral partners. “I don’t do any advertising at all, so all of my business is word of mouth from either my database or my BNI members. And having these alliances has been really beneficial to my business.”


MPAMAGAZINE.COM.AU | 59  


THEDATA DIMBOOLA, VIC HOUSES Rental yield: 9.26%

KAMBALDA WEST, WA HOUSES Rental yield: 12%

CITY, ACT UNITS Rental yield: 6.77%

POSITIVE GEARING

Rental yields make for an attractive investment in these towns, with many reaching double digits

MORANBAH, QLD HOUSES Rental yield: 14.49%

BOGGABRI, NSW HOUSES Rental yield: 10.31%

Source: Your Investment Property

BELLAMACK, NT WHYALLA STUART, SA

HOUSES Rental yield: 14.23%

UNITS Rental yield: 8.41%

ZEEHAN, TAS

HOUSES Rental yield: 11.3%


PROFILE / MARK DAVIS

Mark Davis has shot to the top of the industry with the Australian Lending & Investment Centre. He explains how maintaining a laser focus on his niche has propelled him up the ranks

MARK DAVIS

VIEW FROM THE TOP

62 | BROKERNEWS.COM.AU  


M

ark Davis of the Australian Lending and Investment Centre has accomplished the nigh-impossible by winning Australian Broker of the Year and topping the MPA Top 100 list two years in a row. Davis, a relative newcomer to mortgage broking, has rocketed to the top of the industry in a brief period of time. He explains his success is backed up by 15 years of passion and hard work.

MPA: Congratulations on two years in a row at the top! How have you managed to see such quick success after only three years in mortgage broking? Mark Davis: I suppose it’s having a focus and just living and breathing what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. It’s not really three years in the broker industry; it’s 15 years in the lending industry. We’re just trying to improve every day over that 15 years. I live and breathe it, which is probably difficult for my partner! But when you love something it’s fantastic, and you become good at it.

MPA: What do you think makes your business unique in the market? MD: It’s very investor-driven. It’s around creating opportunities for clients, opening doors for them and creating net wealth for them. It’s really just improving a client’s circumstances and doing the right thing every time. We don’t believe in loan writing. We don’t believe in selling a product. We believe in seriously looking after clients the way you’re supposed to.

MPA: What made you decide to leave the banking industry and enter mortgage broking? MD: My hands were tied. I set up the whole investment structure for the ANZ Bank going back seven or eight years ago, with gearing and wealth creation. From there through the GFC, my hands were kind of tied in regards to what I could do by staying in the banking industry, so it was kind of a good decision that was made for me. From there, we always knew we could achieve what we needed to achieve, so in a way we were going from day

“We have clients who know what they’re doing when they walk in the door” – MARK DAVIS one because we’d actually been living and breathing the concept for so long.

MPA: How do you source new business? MD: We don’t advertise, we don’t market and we have a very limited web page. It’s about clients finding us. We have clients who know what they’re doing when they walk in the door. They’re very focused and they know what they’re there for, so we’re already halfway there. From there, it’s just bringing a high level of service and having the right investment knowledge behind you to take you where you need to go.

MPA: It sounds like you’re extremely focused on a very particular market. Do you think specialisation can help brokers succeed? MD: Definitely. I believe in specialisation. I believe in being great at what you do, knowing where your limits are and bringing specialists in around you. We could make more money by cross-selling and doing different things, but that’s not the space we want to play in.

MPA: With two wins in a row and a couple of great years under your belt, what are you expecting from the year ahead? MD: I want to make it three in a row, and we’ll see where we go from there! We’re already four months into the year, and we’re well on the way. We want to keep winning, keep putting our brand out there, and changing the way brokering is done. Hopefully, we do our little bit to change the industry. 

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LIFESTYLE / FAVOURITES

Favourite things... Vibha Coburn, Citibank Hobby I am dedicated to my boot camp training, aiming to get there three times a week when I am not travelling. That balances my other favourite hobby – cooking and therefore eating!

Place to be in Australia I have to say I love going home to my suburb of Manly in Sydney. I travel a lot and can’t wait to get back to a worldclass beach on my doorstep

Book Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a book that struck a chord with me. It presents a new way of understanding why change can happen so quickly and so unexpectedly in daily life

Movie The Shawshank Redemption – it is a classic that I never tire of watching. I love that it shows people can work together and find solutions through simple acts of common decency

Food Anything that is low on carbs

Beverage I can’t go past a really

but spicy – my favourite at present is a fresh Thai beef salad

good red wine

Holiday spot I am an unashamed tourist. I am drawn to all the wonders of the world, and count among my favourites the Pyramids in Egypt and Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Sport AFL. I am lucky that Citi sponsors the Swans and that I get to mix work with pleasure!

Music I love all things jazz… and I am a Bollywood tragic

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An offer that really means business! eXCitinG neWS We are pleased to announce that Iden can now accept applications as part of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). Effective Immediately. NRAS is an Australian Government initiative to stimulate the supply of 50,000 new affordable rental dwellings. Successful NRAS applicants are eligible to receive an incentive for each approved dwelling where they are rented to eligible low and moderate income households at a rate that is at least 20 per cent below the prevailing market rate.

beCoMe aCCredited Only accredited Iden mortgage brokers will be allowed to provide funding via the Iden NRAS funding. This provides you with a fully featured loan, complete with offset facility, ideal for investors. Take advantage of this offer and join us today. Phone or go to www.iden.com.au/nras/ for full details.

Iden Group Pty Ltd is a privately owned company based in Parramatta since 2001 with branches in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The group specialises in residential & commercial home loans as well as in leasing products for all types of business requirements including equipment and vehicles. • In-house DLA • Wide range of product offering • Ongoing training and support provided • Get Industry leading rates and remuneration Become our partner and be a part of a lifelong association with a company that cares about you and your business. Go to: www.iden.com.au/become-a-broker/

1300 334 336 iden.com.au head office Suite 2, level 2, 20 Wentworth Street Parramatta nSW

Mortgage Management

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1300 334 336 1300 434 336 partner@iden.com.au iden.com.au

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Mortgage Professional Australia magazine Issue 12.12