Two Sydney mortgage brokers have managed to put their university education to use by targeting a particular type of client.
Speaking to The Adviser’s Elite Broker podcast, Ben and Tom Hawley, two brothers behind the recently launched Azura Financial brokerage in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, explained how their tertiary qualifications have come in handy.
In an industry where the barrier to entry is still relatively low, Tom Hawley is more qualified than most. He holds a Bachelor of Economics in Economics and Finance as well as a Masters in Accounting and Finance.
While these may seem unnecessary in a profession that requires a simple diploma, for this young broker they have been the gateway to a niche offering.
“Even though we didn't actually need it to get into the industry it was beyond helpful,” he said, adding that his education has given him the knowledge to be able to speak to clients on a deeper level about their holistic financial position.
This has allowed the Hawley brothers to find their target market and work with referral partners such as accountants and advisers to meet the mortgage needs of their affluent clientele.
“I did about six years at uni and probably a year in various positions that I didn't really enjoy – you could say that was a bit of a waste of time, but realistically it was the exact opposite. It was preparing me to be able, and Ben of course, to be able to excel so quickly like we did.”
Ben Hawley got his start at St George Bank before entering the third-party channel. The combination of a higher education and hands-on business banking experience has set him up well for a career in broking.
“A lot of our bigger clients are self-employed, they've got multiple trusts. All that sort of stuff where your average broker that comes in and enters the industry and does his diploma... they get all these tax returns in and have no idea where to start,” he explains. “That's where we come in, and it's a big part of what we're trying to do as a brand — become more of a premium service for that higher end client.”
Tom Hawley understands the limitations of broking, particularly around advice. However, he believes Azura Financial’s key point of difference is being able to understand the complete financial picture of its clients.
“I think having that education obviously assists in a huge way with being able to advise people properly and giving that extra value over and above what I think a lot of brokers do,” he said. “The trap that a lot of brokers get caught in is literally just discussing interest rate.
"Being able to get away from that conversation and get more down into okay, we'll get you a good product and a good rate, but realistically we want to set you up with the right structure and talk about your tax planning and speak to your accountant and figure out what your investments are and all the rest.
"That's where you're really going to get value. I mean, being able to set up the correct structure so that your loans are more tax effective is going to save someone a lot more money than trying to get them an extra 10 points on a variable rate.”
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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