Thrive Investment Finance’s Samantha Bright has specialised in SMSF lending since 2008. She offers her top tips for breaking into this complex market.
Understand what the opportunities are
In my roles, I’ve seen many SMSF deals go off track simply because the broker didn’t understand the transaction and how SMSF works well enough. I thought “there has to be a business in that”. If you are a broker who is very comfortable with company and trust lending, with the right training and support, you will be fine to diversify into SMSF lending. An SMSF is really just a “sexy trust” with a lot more rules.
Take the time to learn the process
The pre-work before you even get to the application is quite intense. This is not just a matter of selecting a lender, rate and benefits. You must drill down each bank’s policy in a very high level of detail. It is also your job to ensure what the customer is responsible for (personal guarantees). You also need to be very hands-on all the way to settlement – quite often I am assisting the planner and solicitor in ensuring funds are available, in the correct account in time. Post-settlement, you need to help trustees organise the right flow or money for their new property. That’s all part of the deal as well.
Realise there may be setbacks
In SMSF lending, you cannot look at the mortgage you are doing in isolation from any other part of the transaction. As hard as it is, you must communicate with the other stakeholders such as the accountant, adviser and solicitor (simultaneously). Each of these parties will believe that they are the project manager; however, it is only ever the broker who is working to a time frame. Therefore, you will often be the one following up with everyone else to get them to complete their tasks or get them to do them right.
Take time to educate yourself
You do need at least some form of an SMSF lending course under your belt. I would recommend the MFAA SMSF lending course and also the SMSF Trustee Education Program. SMSF information is readily available online as well.
Make sure you’re in it for the right reasons
Do the right training, subscribe to the SMSF publications and continuously educate yourself. This is really someone’s life savings we are talking about, so you need to make sure you are qualified to help.