Wholesale aggregator National Mortgage Brokers (nMB), which has a loan book of almost $14 billion, has been bought for an undisclosed sum as part of an inclusive acquisition.
According to Liberty Financial, the aggregation group will continue to operate under its own name, with the same staff, and that it will be “business as usual” for the 400 brokers operating under the aggregation.
Gerald Foley, ex-MFAA president and long-time industry stalwart, will remain at the helm of nMB.
Mr Foley said: “NMB has constantly evolved since our inception in 2001, and I am excited about the depth of resources that Liberty can bring to our fast growing business.
"I look forward to continuing my leadership of nMB, and I would also like to thank Aussie for its support since it acquired the business in 2012.”
James Boyle, chief executive of Liberty Financial, said that the company had “tremendous admiration for nMB”, adding that the acquisition provides “unique growth opportunities for both organisations”.
He said: “There is a strong alignment of vision and values, with both nMB and Liberty Network Services focusing on their distinctive value propositions which share a commitment to providing the highest quality of professional mortgage broker services to consumers.”
‘Aggregation model doesn’t suit greater Aussie model’
Speaking to The Adviser, Liberty group sales manager John Mohnacheff said: “We are delighted to be partnering with nMB because Liberty is 20 this year and we have been working with Gerald Foley and his team for that whole time, so we have a wonderful synergy."
Adding that there is a “lot of strength in coming together”, he emphasised that “absolutely nothing will change for the brokers [operating under nMB]”.
Mr Mohnacheff said: “This is, for us, a strategic business investment. It is a coming together, it is a partnership. We have invested in nMB because we like nMB. . . . It would be foolish to buy something you admire and then change it. So, for us it is very much a financial investment to help grow the nMB brand and be more involved in the broker community.
"NMB will be another lens for Liberty into the broker space and will help us get an even deeper understanding of what brokers want, and the way the market is going.”
Noting that nMB is “used to having an ownership model” thanks to its former relationship with Aussie Home Loans, Mr Mohnacheff said that the acquisition was a “win for Aussie, a win for nMB, and a win for Liberty”.
He continued: “Aussie Home Loans has decided that they are really going to be focusing on their brand, and they have decided that the broader aggregation model doesn’t suit their greater Aussie model. However, we know that the nMB model absolutely suits our model.”
Indeed, the CEO of Aussie, James Symond, said that while nMB has been "a very positive contributor to the success of the Aussie Group", the future of Aussie’s long-term strategy is to "concentrate solely on [its] own branded distribution footprint".
"NMB is one of Australia’s longest established mortgage aggregators and a genuine leader in the wholesale aggregator market," Mr Symond said.
“Liberty is a long-term partner of both Aussie and nMB, and I am confident that it is the right business and leadership team to facilitate nMB’s next phase of growth."
Wishing nMB well as they become "an important part of the very successful Liberty group", Mr Symond added that Aussie will continue to retain its "strategic partnership" with nMB for "many years to come".
[Related: Business ‘playbook’ released for new brokers]