Diversified brokerages risk becoming ‘diluted mess’

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Diversified brokerages risk becoming ‘diluted mess’

James Mitchell 3 minute read

A Melbourne-based mortgage broker believes specialisation, rather than diversification, is the key to a successful finance business.

Picket Fence Finance, located in Melbourne's Bayside region, is cementing its reputation as a boutique mortgage specialist by focusing on home loans, commercial finance and conveyancing.

The company believes its narrow focus, concentrating solely on mortgages, provides the best outcomes for its clients.

"I can't emphasise enough that within the mortgage business we're dealing with big numbers on behalf of our clients. It's important to be the very best at what we do, focusing exclusively on mortgages, rather than be seen as a jack-of-all-trades," Picket Fence Finance co-director, Cameron Stillman, said.

"We want people to come to us confident that we're at the top of our game, whether they require a commercial or residential mortgage. We aren’t interested in offering side services — we just want to be the best at what we do,” he said.


Picket Fence Finance opened its doors in 2011 with a strong portion of revenue generated by repeat business and client referrals. Mr Stillman believes the group’s decision to not tread the path of diversification is not only in tune with the company’s philosophy, but is also representative of its clients' goals and requirements.

"We understand that securing a mortgage can be a complex transaction, dealing with different types of mortgages, lenders, rates, and deal structures,” he said.

“For many of our clients it's probably the biggest transaction they'll make in their lives. If you start adding in equipment finance, insurance broking, financial planning, and car loans, the whole thing becomes a diluted mess. We want our experience and expertise in mortgages to underpin not only our duty of care to our clients, but also their customer experience and long-term outcomes."

While Picket Fence Finance has no plans to incorporate additional arms of business to diversify its services, it is enthusiastic about diversifying its client base, with plans to open further offices to target new demographics.

"We're definitely looking to expand our catchment area; it's something that's been on our radar for some time. We'll probably look to diversify in the Melbourne metropolitan area initially.”

In an industry where aggregators and broker groups are increasingly adding new revenue streams beyond home loans, Mr Stillman says "time will tell” whether Picket Fence Finance is doing the right thing in focusing on mortgages, rather than diversifying.

“History has proven many industries that do diversify and offer a 'one-stop shop' ultimately dismantle and return to what they were originally good at. We know we're putting all our eggs in one basket, but we're happy to do so because we believe that's what our customers want."

[Related: Major brokerage's advice arm sees first profit]

Diversified brokerages risk becoming ‘diluted mess’
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James Mitchell

James Mitchell

James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.

He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.

He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.

James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.


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