The chief executive of a leading aggregator has said that the broking industry has grown as a result of “a lot more diversity being embraced”.
Speaking to The Adviser at FAST’s fifth annual Women in Business luncheon in Sydney yesterday, FAST CEO Brendan Wright said that diversity – whether gender, ethnicity, background, experience or “diversity in thinking” – was helping propel the mortgage broking industry forward.
Mr Wright said: “Having people with diverse backgrounds, including gender, is definitely worthwhile. If you look at the industry, both finance and broking … there's been a history of them being male, and of a certain age and demographic. And that has definitely shifted. I've certainly seen it from an industry perspective and at industry events but also amongst the lenders, amongst aggregators, and brokers in their businesses – there's a lot more diversity being embraced in the industry and that's a good thing, and why we've seen growth in the industry.”
According to the FAST CEO, the aggregator is “passionate” about diversity, in terms of products, people and thinking.
He explained: “Diversity to us is more than just gender. Gender is important but to us, it's diversity in thinking, and [we] believe that bringing diversity in thinking to your business does result in a different business outcome – a really positive one, and a sustainable one. But it’s obvious that we start with gender, because its tangible ... its tactile, you can see it.”
Mr Wright added that in the last two and a half years, 180 of the new brokers at FAST have been women, adding that he believes the company’s “people should be representative of those [they] are serving” as that “results in better outcomes for clients”.
He elaborated: “Men and women think differently – and there's that theme of thinking differently and the value that brings to business.”
Mr Wright gave the example of having Patrick Clarkson and Natasha Ramantanis (both partnership managers at FAST) on the leadership team.
“We did that deliberately so that we could get a different point of view in our business. [They came up with] some simple solutions about how we structure our professional development series and [came up] with some really good ideas about doing it differently, which meant better economics but also better outcomes for the brokers who attend our professional development series,” he said.
Speaking during the event, which also comprised a fascinating and moving story from Hien Nguyen about her journey from Vietnamese refugee to becoming a NSW partnership manager at FAST, and an entertaining and informative talk from journalist Effie Zahos, Mr Wright concluded: “What women do bring to business is courage and kindness; that’s the edge you get when you’re a woman in business.”
[Related: Nominations open for Women in Finance Awards]