Brokers looking to diversify into the asset finance sector can find navigating the space to be a “minefield”, so they should go “straight” to their aggregator.
That’s according to Mhairi MacLeod, Astute Ability Finance Group's owner. She told The Adviser that brokers looking to break into asset finance would be better served by working with an aggregator, rather than by attempting to secure direct accreditation.
“Ultimately, if you're starting out, really, why reinvent the wheel?” she said.
“Go straight to your aggregator, talk to your aggregators. Talk to them about who's on panel,” she continued, arguing that working with aggregator groups “can be very rewarding”.
“Trying to do it on your own really is a minefield, especially if you're breaking in to a new sector.”
Ms MacLeod said that brokers new to asset financing need to “have an understanding” of where their main focus lies and said that aggregators can provide that.
Additionally, she said: “These days it's very difficult to get direct accreditations anyway.”
"You've got to understand that sector first before you can go out and go: 'Well, look, I think I'll just get a direct accreditation. Let's see how that runs.'"
However, the asset finance broker acknowledged that aggregators “can’t be good at everything” and brokers need to consider the quality of their potential aggregators’ asset finance arm.
Ms MacLeod recently partnered with Tracy Kearey, managing director of Home Loan Connexion and mortgage broker. Speaking on the partnership, Ms MacLeod said that the two brokers were looking for ways to service clients who had needs outside of their specialties.
"Astute Connexion [the partnership] came about [as a result of] Tracy's brokers not having access to parts of their business that were going back to the bank.... Your motor vehicle funding, your personal loans. These guys didn't want to get bogged down in it because they don't do that, that's not their specialty.
"So, instead of giving it away to someone else that they really don't know, or recognise if they've got the skills to do it, they're just thinking ... how about [they] partner with someone like myself and I look after Tracy's brokers for that side of their business, and that keeps it in-house."
As she had with Ms Kearey, Ms MacLeod advised brokers looking for a partner relationship to find someone with "the same values and the same ability to communicate with the client".
She continued: "You really need to partner with people who are like-minded and have a similar sort of culture within their groups, because there's a lot of communication that has to take place and a lot of trust.
"They're the things that you need to consider and also [you need to] consider the fact that your clients have to trust that individual, too. So, if you don't like the broker you're working with, why would you put your customer there?" she concluded.