One of the most important choices a broker makes when coming into the business is which aggregator to go with. Five brokers tell The Adviser what they want from theirs.
Many brokers do an annual stocktake of their aggregator, as vying for leads, retaining clients and building a robust broking business are becoming increasingly difficult in today’s ultra-competitive third-party channel.
The good news for brokers is that competition between aggregators is just as intense. They’re battling for your business. In this environment, it’s up to brokers to conduct their own needs analysis: Have you outgrown your current aggregator’s model? Are there new revenue streams you want to integrate into your business? Can your current aggregator help? Are you still getting value for money? Would a branded group be better? Is it technology you’re after? Or do you need more leads?
The Adviser caught up with five brokers to understand what they look for in an aggregator.
Jeremy Fisher of 1st Street Home Loans said that consideration of trail was a major factor. He explained: "It is critical to know who you are partnering up with and their ownership structure and financial stability.
"Next, I consider the system (CRM) and its efficiency. Compliance, lodgement, reporting and data collection are all equally important when choosing the right system for the office. Finally, working closely with your aggregator to help grow your business and provide support is something else to consider," he said.
A common theme in choosing aggregator was also ensuring that there was a good fit culturally, and a sense of community.
Marios Rokka from the Lending Centre Australia Pty Ltd said: "I’ve had three throughout my 18 years of broking and although technology is what I have always thought as important to my business, it has ultimately been inclusiveness that has kept me [with an aggregator].
"As brokers, we are often on our own, but the way my aggregator goes about bringing all the brokers together gives everyone a sense of community and many brokers often reach out to each other and support one another. Aggregators should focus on supporting the one-man band broker and the growth for the broker."
Mel Primus of Primus Home Loans agreed, saying: "I love how the members of my aggregator are very genuine, caring, hard-working people just like myself. They are happy to talk about their own businesses in an open manner so that everyone can learn from each other. Being part of a “family” feels right and promotes for strong business relationships and a win/win culture for everyone.
"I have been fortunate to have great BDMs that have provided great support to me and my business. It is very important for me to feel comfortable with an aggregator BDM as I work closely with them on improving my business."
For others, technological support and marketing systems were a key attraction. Hank 'The Bank' Hong explained that the following items were "game changers" for him: "[A] CRM system that supports [his] own natural servicing style"; the period of time to keep trail; the monthly costs; whether [he] can obtain leads, if required; how much support and training they provide; and a culture that fits [his] business style.
Technology was a draw for Peter Gwynne of Choice Home Loans too, who told The Adviser: "I felt it was important to have the security and resources of a large brand and with this would be future opportunity. I looked for software, security around commissions and a strong team environment. The CRM system is excellent along with the loan submission process with all submissions and information in one place.
"On the flip side, I feel my aggregator has lost ground in the industry with its lender panel and providing options and opportunities for brokers. The team environment in Queensland has dimmed too, which I hope to see to improve in the coming years."
Read our complete guide to switching aggregators in the supplement to the May edition of The Adviser, out later this month.
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