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Brokers will dictate future of Choice, FAST, PLAN: White

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Sarah Simpkins 8 minute read

After its management restructure, Loan Market Group will continue to consult with brokers to decide the fate of the three aggregator brands.

On Wednesday (27 October), Loan Market Group declared that it would roll out a new leadership structure across its wholesale business, encompassing aggregators PLAN, Choice and FAST.

Choice Aggregation chief executive Stephen Moore has taken the role of managing director, PLAN, Choice and FAST, with the leadership team to also include heads for each state, replacing the former regional managers who overlooked multiple states.

Despite consolidating their leadership, Loan Market Group has decided to maintain the separate brands, with executive chair Sam White telling The Adviser that they give brokers “an identity”.

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But the company has said it is open to ongoing feedback from brokers, having rolled out the new leadership structure after consultations.

“At the moment, our intention is that we keep them and we’ll be listening to their feedback on how they want to see that community evolve, if they want a bigger community or if they want to keep smaller communities to be part of,” Mr White said.

“We think of the brands very much as the communities that brokers feel confident in and part of.”

The new state-based leadership will be the most significant change for brokers across each brand, Mr White affirmed.

Brokers are also expected to have more choice around their operations, with transitioning between brands and business models under the group meant to become easier.

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If they choose to, brokers can opt for wholesale models under PLAN, Choice or FAST, which offer a flat-monthly fee or pay per transaction frameworks. In the retail division with the Loan Market brand or the Bring Your Own Brand (BYOB) model, they could choose a revenue share model.

“The big impact we want to have is local leadership on the ground, that you can have local state leaders in all the markets, that’s the big change,” Mr White said.

“Beyond that, we want to keep the same relationship managers we currently have, so no change in the relationships with brokers. They’ll be able to change their commercial agreements and go between PLAN, FAST and Choice, they’ll be able to change those round if they want to, or they can stay exactly the same and they can do that while keeping the same partnership manager.”

Breaking into commercial, asset finance

Meanwhile, FAST CEO Brendan Wright has been tasked with creating a new commercial and asset finance broking unit for the group, with a team of specialists and partnership managers.

Mr Wright will oversee the unit’s formation before he exits the group early next year.

Stephen Scahill, head of northern region (NSW/ACT/QLD) at FAST and former Loan Market chief operating officer, will become leader of commercial and asset finance, with a number of asset and commercial financing specialists across each state to report to him.

The new commercial and asset finance arm is meant to build upon FAST’s profile in the market, where it accounts for more than 30 per cent of third-party commercial and asset finance loans, according to Loan Market Group.

“Within the group, FAST has a great reputation for asset finance and asset finance brokers, but even within that business, the majority of that business is residential,” Mr White explained.

“What we’re looking at as part of this changes is to invest into a new team of asset finance specialists.

“We want to be able to increase our ability to support those brokers and also to assist lenders in dealing with brokers in that space.”

Towards digital lending and Canberra

Meanwhile, Mr White signalled the company will push into lending, with plans to work with digital providers.

Anja Pannek, former PLAN Australia CEO, will take on a newly created role with the company: group executive, lending solutions and strategy.

“We are keen to make sure that mortgage brokers are part of the revolution of digital mortgages and we know we need to be working with those lenders to make sure that the broker is a part of that landscape,” Mr White told The Adviser.

“And we’re confident in that, so we’re investing in that space.”

Ms Pannek will also continue to preside over the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia’s (MFAA) National Aggregators Forum in addition to her new role.

Her position will play into Loan Market Group’s plans to engage with the MFAA and Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) on the 2022 remuneration review.

“We have a federal election next year and the government will also deliver on its three-year review of remuneration,” Mr White said.

“We’re ramping up our engagement with key stakeholders to ensure the important role our brokers play in providing competition, guidance and confidence for customers is recognised and appreciated.”

Including its New Zealand business, the group has roughly around 7,000 brokers, Mr White recounted, with some expressing “concerns around what’s coming”.

But the executive chair reflected on APRA’s recent regulatory intervention in the mortgage market, stating brokers will continue to be needed.

“Every time a regulator steps in, it creates complexity and increases the need for experts. Brokers are the experts that help customers move through such uncertainty,” he said.

“And I think we’ve seen the real power of brokers in the past couple of years through COVID.”

[Related: Loan Market Group overhauls Choice, FAST, PLAN leadership]

Brokers will dictate future of Choice, FAST, PLAN: White
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Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins

Sarah Simpkins is the news editor across Mortgage Business and The Adviser.

Previously, she reported on banking, financial services and wealth management for InvestorDaily and ifa.

You can contact her on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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