While much has been made about CPA Australia’s potential move into the broking space, at least two brokers are seizing the opportunity to go the other way and expand their service offering outside of the broking space.
Mardee Thomas of 1st Street Home Loans told The Adviser that she and business partner Jeremy Fisher attained financial planner qualifications around four years ago, and are now actively looking to expand their business into the space.
“[Initially] it was more of keeping up with the times and making sure that we were all up to speed with what was happening in the industry. So we haven't really, over time, done a lot with it, because we've actually had an in-house person running that side of things for us,” Ms Thomas said.
“But now that it's obviously becoming more and more known in the industry and available to our clients, if it's not going to be us, it's going to be someone else. So we're obviously trying to keep it within the business if we can … more of a one-stop-shop instead of them going elsewhere to get the same service."
When asked about the potential for conflicts of interest to arise between broking and financial planning, Ms Thomas said it will require a separation of the two processes while allowing constructive use of all the information and knowledge of that client across the spectrum of their financial needs.
“You've got to take off the hat of a mortgage broker and put on the financial planning hat ... I don't think it could be done at once,” she said.
“I definitely think you've got to do your interviews as though you're the mortgage broker and handling that side of things first and foremost, and then obviously the financial planning side is a different space again.
“It's too much information for them to take in and I think it can get a bit messy if you cross the line with that.”
According to Ms Thomas, brokers offering financial planning advice will allow for the creation of a more holistic approach to customer service.
“Over time, I think it's probably going to be one of those things which probably will help us along the way in terms of the money side of things, but … for me, even when I first started broking, I would never put someone to a certain product just because it gave me extra in the pocket,” she said.
“So it was always whatever came up trumps to give them the best possible option going forward. I just see this as a way forward to be able to give them the best possible service and ability to make sure that they're ok in the long term.”
[Related: CPA confirms broker push]
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