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Loan Market exits advice amid troubled PCF integration

by James Mitchell12 minute read
Loan Market exits advice amid troubled PCF integration

EXCLUSIVE The major brokerage has wound up its advice business after eight years as it refocuses on the challenging integration of PLAN, Choice and FAST.

Speaking to The Adviser, Loan Market Group chairman Sam White confirmed that Wealth Market, the broker’s advice business that launched in 2014, has been shuttered.

“We officially wound it up in March of this year,” he said. “It was a difficult decision to make. We had some terrific advisers. We really wanted to focus on broking. For us it was just very difficult running an AFSL in the current regime. That, combined with the PCF acquisition, which is what we wanted to be focusing on.”

Mr White’s confirmation of Wealth Market’s demise comes after Loan Market Group tried for eight years to make the advice business viable.


Former Yellow Brick Road chief executive Matt Lawler, who was heading up the Wealth Market business, has since moved on to a role at AMP.

Sources familiar with the situation told The Adviser that Loan Market Group has been facing significant operational issues since acquiring PLAN Australia, Choice Aggregation Services and FAST Group from NAB in late 2020.

Some of these issues include the loss of talent, including CEOs, state managers, department heads and senior commissions specialists.

Brendan Wright, who spent almost 20 years at NAB and was approaching 10 years as CEO of FAST, left Loan Market Group in November last year.

Third-party veteran Rob Ryan, who was head of NSW/ACT and Queensland at FAST, left Loan Market Group in August last year.

Steve Bourne, who had been head of strategic partnerships at PLAN, left the group in January. Both he and Mr Ryan now work at Lending Association.

Former PLAN Australia CEO Anja Pannek has left the group after being appointed MFAA CEO in August.

Steve Kane exits in July

Former NAB Broker executive Steve Kane came out of retirement last year to steer the integration, assuming a new role as head of integration - people and strategy.

Loan Market Group confirmed he has also left the group.

"After 12 months working full time and another 4 months consulting with the Loan Market Group (LMG), helping steer the group’s transition and integration of PLAN Australia, Choice and FAST, Steve made the decision to resign from full-time work with the Group in July. This coincided with the completion of the MyCRM platform migration," PCF Group managing director Stephen Moore said. 

On its website, Loan Market Group describes itself as “Proudly 100 per cent family owned with no bank ownership, we’re a family company with family values.”

However, several sources who spoke to The Adviser anonymously said they felt the new ownership lacked the commercial and business lending expertise that the aggregators, specifically FAST and PLAN, benefited from under NAB.

Sources told The Adviser that commission problems have plagued PCF brokers after staff from the commissions team who came across from NAB were made redundant, and responsibility for PCF commissions shifted to the Loan Market Group commissions team.

However, Loan Market Group asserts that no commission officers were let go: "There was a restructure of finance and operations teams in September 2021, which resulted in a change of leadership. Importantly there were no commission officers let go," Mr Moore told The Adviser. 

Commissions staff exit

Two senior commissions staff left Loan Market Group following the September 2021 restructure. 

Tom Stanley, who was head of operations at Loan Market Group, left in October 2021. Prior to moving to Loan Market Group Group with the PCF acquisition he was head of broker commission payments for PLAN, Choice and FAST. He now works at REA Group. 

Shamal Dias, who was senior lead of commissions at Loan Market Group after serving over 8 years at NAB, also left in October 2021. According to his LinkedIn profile, he "transitioned to Loan Market Group from NAB due to the sale of PLAN, Choice and FAST". He describes his responsibilities as managing "a team of highly specialised associates across PCF to execute commission payment runs." He now works at ANZ. 

Two months later, in December 2021, PCF brokers experienced commission payment issues, including missed payments.

PCF Group managing director Stephen Moore told The Adviser this was caused by "a combination of the Christmas holidays (meaning many staff were on leave)" coupled with "staff being sick with the latest COVID-19 outbreak" and "a commission system changeover."

"PCF Group deeply regrets this occurred and at the time communicated regularly with our brokers. Since then, we are back on track with all commission processing. We continue to look to improve our processes and are investing in further enhancing commission functionality, including reporting, for our brokers."

Mr Moore dismissed speculation that commissions staff were let go: "There were no commission officers let go, and in fact, we have now grown the commission's team by 15 staff members with 29 subject matter experts now making up the LMG commissions team, one of the largest to service the industry.

"This investment in people has not just occurred in commissions, we’ve seen this right across the business, in all areas, with a specific focus on increasing support for brokers," he said.

"When the acquisition happened there was 330 staff across PLAN Australia, Choice, FAST and Loan Market Group, today our business has 409 corporate staff in Australia."

PCF Group said it has added 86 new businesses in the past 12 months.



sam white


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