Australia’s best commercial broker and 2016 Better Business Award winner will next month make his fifth trip to Asia this year to secure foreign lenders for local clients.
Brisbane-based broker Daniel Holden of HoldenCAPITAL has carved out an enviable niche in a highly competitive broking market by specialising in construction finance for property developers. Up until 2015, when he wrote $224 million during that financial year, 64 per cent of his deals went to the big four banks. But with increased regulation and tighter credit, the majors now account for just 28 per cent of his business – a business that wrote $328 million in FY16.
“Accessing private capital became a bigger part of the picture,” Mr Holden told The Adviser. He has since grown his team and now employs 14 staff across Brisbane and Sydney with more expansion on the horizon.
“In FY16 we did $328 million,” Mr Holden explains. “About 28 per cent was major bank. The first four months of this financial year it would be less than 28 per cent. Less than one in five projects is being funded by a bank.”
This means HoldenCAPITAL has managed to increase its volumes by 46 per cent in 12 months by bringing in a wide range of private capital, including mortgage trusts, private lenders, high net worth individuals and syndicates of high net worth families.
But the biggest funding pipeline is coming from overseas.
“We are now doing deals with hedge funds in Asia and sovereign wealth funds,” Mr Holden said. “We have done four trips to Asia in the past 12 months, we are about to go again in the first week of December.
“We meet with these players to explain the Australia market, the opportunity in the supply and demand of money and the risk-reward profile of deals available.
“Asia has been a pretty decent player over the last 10 years we have been in this space. In mezzanine debt, preferred equity and JVs. Trying to get people interested in lending money at 9 per cent and explaining it might be a lower reward than 15 per cent but it is also lower risk.”
HoldenCAPITAL was named Best Commercial Broker at the Better Business Awards in Queensland earlier this year, after taking out the coveted title in 2015.
Mr Holden says being known as the best commercial broker in the country serves him well when meeting new finance partners abroad.
“We took out a half page ad in our local paper advertising the win to all of Queensland,” he said. “When we talk to people overseas we tell them that we have won a few awards, thankfully.
“Having a claim to fame of being the best commercial broker in Australia for two years running has a nice ring to it when you’re talking to hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds from around the world.
“We explain to them that this title is not just based on quantity of settlements, but about presentation and the way that we carry out our business. To explain that to people is a big comfort for them when they’re considering sinking their teeth into real estate debt in Australia.”
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