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Leading brokers offer free mentoring support

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Annie Kane 7 minute read

Brokers Adrian Lee and Stephen Michaels of Catalyst Debt Capital are offering free mentoring advice for brokers looking to scale their business in a bid to help more brokers excel.

The chief executive officer and commercial broker at Sydney-based brokerage Catalyst Debt Capital (Catalyst), Adrian Lee, and director of residential and SME, Stephen Michaels, are offering to mentor up to five brokers per quarter to help them grow their businesses into a leading brokerage.

The mentoring will comprise a fortnightly one-on-one Zoom session and a monthly group workshop in their Sydney office (which will also provide brokers with a network of alumni to engage with following the program).

The Sydney-based brokerage, which has a commercial and residential loan portfolio in excess of a billion dollars, provides credit advice to individuals, SMEs and corporate and institutional businesses.


Catalyst said it would pull from its experience, business plans and papers over the past eight years to help brokers identify where they are in their business cycle and “show them how we did it”.

Learning from experience

Speaking to The Adviser about the initiative, Mr Lee said they wanted to offer brokers help and advice on how to scale a business from the “sticky plateau” of writing $20 million a year (or around $1.5 million a month) to $100 million in loans, after recognising that there was an increasing amount of “good brokers” leaving industry due to a lack of guidance.

He said: “Most brokers can get to a certain point pretty quickly; the $1-$1.5 million a month size. Then there’s a whole scaling issue from there. 

“There are some brokers out there that are already well on their way and just need to keep doing what they’re doing. There are some new-to-entry brokers who might not necessarily be ready to scale up their business yet. But I think there’s a chunk of brokers – maybe about 30 per cent of the industry – that are ready to scale and just want that extra help from someone who has done it,” Mr Lee said.


“I think we went down every rabbit hole before we got to where we are now. And I think that, had I had 10 weeks or three months with someone that had gone through exactly what I’ve had to go through [to get to where I am], it would have cut my time [getting to where I am now] in half,” he added.

As an example, Mr Lee said that one of the lessons he wished he had learned earlier in the game was that back-office processing shouldn’t just include application form administration and lodgements, but should extend to everything that is “non-customer facing”.

“Product selection, document collection, staying on top of credit and talking through credit issues with the bank... None of that involves interacting with the customer, and that saps an adviser’s time,” he said.

“Our business is now structured so that our advisers literally spend all their time talking to customers explaining what they’re up to, explaining the proposition etc.

“Our back-office team comprises almost three support staff to every adviser. So, the number one lesson for me was that back office isn’t just data entry; that’s a small chunk. You could probably do 10x more than that to be more efficient on the front end.”

However, he added: “But you’ve got to talk to a specific broker about exactly where you are at, exactly what your pain points are, rather than having something general. So, that is why we really focus on doing it one-on-one.”

Mr Lee said that they would be offering the mentoring free-of-charge as a means of giving back to industry.

He continued: “This is not something we’re doing for our own benefit. We’re not trying to recruit brokers. We’re not developing products we want to distribute. We just thought that we have learned a lot on our road, it’s been a long journey and we’ve made a lot of mistakes... but I think we just thought there wasn’t a lot out there from brokers that had genuine experience doing it, so thought we could give back.”

The Catalyst CEO concluded: “I think that there’s a gap in the market for broker businesses that can really take that step from writing a couple of million dollars of revenue a month, and start behaving a little bit more like an institutional business, as opposed to a small business. 

“And I think the more of those we have in the market, the better it is for the industry.”

You can find out more about scaling broking businesses and hear from leading brokers such as Adrian Lee at The Adviser’s upcoming business consultancy workshop, the Business Accelerator Program 2021. 

Register your interest now to be the first in the know when tickets from the hands-on workshop are released.

[Related: The impacts of COVID-19 on this leading brokerage]

Leading brokers offer free mentoring support
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If you’re feeling overworked and overwhelmed in this fast-paced mortgage market, it’s time to make some changes, and the Business Accelerator Program can help! Early bird tickets are on sale now. Work smarter, not harder, this year.

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Annie Kane

Annie Kane

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. 

Email Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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