The leading players in the mortgage and finance broking industry have been named at The Adviser’s Australian Broking Awards 2020.
The 10th annual Australian Broking Awards, run in partnership with principal partner NAB, took place on Thursday evening (16 July), recognising the leading brokers, loan administrators, aggregators and brokerages operating across Australia.
Given the ongoing restrictions on social interaction, the awards were this year celebrated via live stream – with more than 700 industry participants tuning in from across the continent to watch and engage with the live awards ceremony.
The winners for each of the 29 categories were as follows:
Andrew Kelly from Anasta Finance Consulting in Concord, NSW, was named Finance Broker of the Year and crowned Broker of the Year 2020 (which honours the highest scoring broker from the winners of the individual broker categories).
When asked what his personal mantra was, Mr Kelly said: “So many personal mantras relate to financial security and wellbeing. I suppose what I would say is: To be successful can be measured financially, but – more importantly – [it is] how I conduct myself around my family, my children and my clients.
“I hope that the people around me can see that I enjoy their company, I honour their friendships, and that if they ever require any assistance, guidance or words of support, I am there for them. I am a tough bugger in business, but I wear my heart on my sleeve and I always have my clients’ interests at heart.”
Mhairi MacLeod of Astute Ability Group won the award for Asset Finance Broker of the Year this year, in recognition of her work funding equipment, including her specialty and dedication to the equine industry.
Rounding out the non-residential broker categories, John Encina from rapidly growing finance brokerage Experity Capital was named Commercial Broker of the Year. As outlined in the Australian Broking Awards Finalist Showcase podcast, Mr Encina was busy last year supporting SMEs, all while merging three businesses with his own to create Experity Capital.
Adelaide-based broker Cathy Anderson from Smartline was named Residential Broker of the Year, having written more mortgages than days in the year last year and achieving 10 per cent year-on-year growth, all while helping clients save money and providing financial support.
Meanwhile, Bernard Desmond from Victoria-based brokerage Blank Financial won the Customer Service of the Year - Individual category. Mr Desmond was recognised for dedication to his clients, his personalised touches to customer service and use of technology to ensure his client experience is efficient.
Paul Wright from MoneyQuest Woolongong was recognised as Australia’s Regional Broker of the Year. Mr Wright settled nearly 400 mortgages in 2019, growing his business by 22 per cent, expanding his team and maintaining strong customer testimonials and reviews.
New members of industry were also championed during Thursday night’s Australian Broking Awards.
The Newcomer of the Year award (recognising those who started broking after 1 January 2018) went to Perceptive Finance’s Stuart Murray. Previously in the property industry, Mr Murray made the switch to broking in 2018 and has been rapidly growing a successful brokerage in Melbourne’s Southbank.
Meanwhile, the Rising Star award – celebrating the industry professional with less than five years’ experience that is contributing to the success of the channel – went to Cullen Haynes from Legal Home Loans. The brokers, who specialises in finance for lawyers, provides financial literacy education while promoting the broking proposition to those in the legal profession.
Mikaela Patterson from Entourage Finance was celebrated for her work in delivering financial wellness programs in partnership with Pinnacle Health Group. Ms Patterson was named the Wellness Advocate of the Year for her work in demonstrating the importance of financial wellness within the broader context of mental wellbeing, workplace productivity and impact to business bottom line.
Outside of brokers, the awards also recognised the individuals going above and beyond for the sector, too.
Birdie Wealth’s loan administrator, Rebecca McIlwain, was celebrated for all of her hard work behind the scenes, being named the industry’s Loan Administrator of the Year.
Connective director Mark Haron was this year’s Industry Thought Leader of the Year, having been a vocal champion for the broker cause in 2019 following the royal commission, regularly meeting with politicians and decision makers to ensure the voice of the industry was heard.
In the final individual category, Jason Back from Broker Essentials was crowned Mentor of the Year, in recognition of his tireless work in training, coaching and motivating Australia’s leading brokers.
In the group awards, several independent broking companies were multiaward winners on the night.
Graeme Holm’s Infinity Group Australia won the Diversification Program of the Year in recognition of its efforts to meet their clients’ growing needs, as well as Innovator of the Year for the creation of the popular two-day online masterclass, Money Mentor, which has so far seen more than 700 home owners take part in the financial literacy training.
Meanwhile, Nathan Smith’s Miranda-based brokerage Birdie Wealth won the award for Social & Community Engagement Program of the Year. The brokerage has partnered with Enough is Enough, an anti-violence movement that supports victims of violence at home, in the workplace and schools, and donates up to $500 of the commission of each loan that is settled through Birdie to Enough is Enough in memory of Tina Kontozis. Mr Smith has since been made a member of the board of Enough is Enough.
Birdie Wealth was also named Office of the Year - Non Franchise for its exceptional work and culture. The Williamstown branch of Mortgage Choice, run by Jonathan Lee, took home the same award in the franchise category (Office of the Year - Franchise).
Ben Kingsley’s Melbourne-based brokerage Empower Wealth took home the Customer Service of the Year - Office, while Otto Dargan’s growing brokerage, Home Loan Experts, won the award for Major Brokerage of the Year - Non-Franchise.
In the regions, it was Sarah Thomson’s Loan Market office in Geelong that was named Regional Office of the Year.
When it came to new offices, the team at MTA Mortgage Brokers were honoured for their fast work in establishing themselves, winning New Office of the Year.
Aggregators were also celebrated for their work at Thursday’s awards, with Connective named Aggregator of the Year and Purple Circle Financial Services taking home the Boutique Aggregator of the Year award (less than 500 members).
Australian Finance Group (AFG) was recognised for its services to brokers – winning Training and Education Program of the Year and Broker Marketing Platform of the Year.
Loan Market once again was honoured for its technological prowess, winning the Technology Platform of the Year for the second year in a row.
Aussie Home Loans (Aussie) was won two trophies on the night: the Major Brokerage of the Year - Franchise award and Marketing Campaign of the Year, in recognition of its multichannel approach in raising the profile of what brokers do.
Congratulations to all the winners of the Australian Broking Awards 2020!
Find out more about the winners at the dedicated Australian Broking Awards website.
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Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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