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Elite Business Writers 2017 revealed

by Demii Kalavritinos17 minute read

Annie and James reveal The Adviser’s Elite Business Writers ranking for 2017, celebrating the top 25 brokers in the country.

Tune in to hear who the top 10 brokers are, how the figures have changed from last year and the volumes that these elite brokers are writing.

Did you like this episode? Show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (Elite Broker) and by following The Adviser on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more insight!


Articles of interest:

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ASIC on broker remuneration and ‘good consumer outcomes’
REA lacks ‘competitive advantage’ in broker channel
Opinion: Commissions are great for consumers


Full Transcript

Announcer: Welcome to the Elite Broker Podcast. This is your host Annie Kane.

Annie Kane: Welcome back everyone to the Elite Broker Podcast. This week we've got a special episode for you in which we're revealing the top 25 loan writers in Australia as part of our Elite Business Writers Ranking 2017. We do this every year and this year it's condensed down to 25, so it's much more competition, and we're going to run through who the top 10 are and as well as highlight and pull out some of the more interesting stats that we've been seeing. We'll also in the next few days be releasing bonus episodes with some of the top writers for you to find out more about how they've done it and what they've been up to. Joining me as always is James Mitchell, managing editor of mortgages. How are you doing James?

James Mitchell: Very good, thank you Annie. It's good to be here. We're going to run through the top 10?

Annie Kane: I think that's probably-

James Mitchell: That makes sense.

Annie Kane:  Let's start from there. If we go from 10 upwards, so coming in at number 10 is James Hasselle from Mortgage Choice in Queensland. He wrote 632 mortgages in the 2017 financial year.

James Mitchell: That's a lot.

Annie Kane: It's a lot. It is a lot. The way that we actually do the methodology for this is that it's not just for residential mortgages. It also includes insurances and other business as well. James wrote 632 mortgages and that totalled to $153.2 million. That is a lot of money.

James Mitchell: Residential volume.

Annie Kane: That's a lot of houses.

James Mitchell: That's a lot. Then, but his total volumes when you include insurance and other businesses, 181, so it ticked up slightly there. Well, what I found interesting when we were putting together the report was actually ... Because we've been doing it for seven, eight years now, was that ... I mean, some of the top brokers are still there in the top 10 or the top five, they sort of ... They swap around a bit, but generally the big names are there. In terms of residential volumes, they've either stayed around the same or come down a bit, but other business and particularly insurance, has really ramped up-

Annie Kane: Gone up, yeah.

James Mitchell: Their total volumes are still massive. It's sort of like the weightings changed a bit, which I find quite interesting. Because I mean, any broker who's listening to this who might be wondering what to do when the market starts to flatten, or they're not getting the same sort of leads in front from home loans, I mean, the people in ... The top 10 brokers in the industry clearly have a diversified business and they ramp up different levels when things are tough, which is interesting.

Annie Kane: I think that sort of diversification piece is also coming into it, isn't it? Where brokers are sort of having to realise they have to provide a more holistic offering to their clients, rather than just residential-

James Mitchell: They do.

Annie Kane: Which is what I think we've been seeing. We also saw, for example, there was a marked increase in the amount of insurances that nearly everyone in the top 10 had been recording for the last financial year. Coming in at number nine was Kevin Agent who had moved up one spot from tenth last year and he's from the Australian Lending & Investment Centre down in Victoria. He also wrote a similar amount of mortgages to James, so he wrote 626 and $163.5 million in resi-mortgages.

James Mitchell: Yeah.

Annie Kane: Congratulations to Kevin.

James Mitchell: Kevin obviously works with Mark Davis who's on this list now, but we'll get to him in a little bit.

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: He's a bit further up the list. We've got Kevin James Wheatley from Bayside Commercial Mortgages at number eight. He's actually a new entry in this year. There's a couple of new entries in the top 10.

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: He's a New South Wales based broker with Finsure and he wrote 100 and ... No, he didn't?

Annie Kane:  No, he's with Choice.

James Mitchell: Oh, he is with Choice, so I'm getting everything mixed up. He's with Choice Aggregation. We've got a Finchel broker coming up next. He's with Choice Aggregation, 19 deals. He only wrote 14 million in resi, but he's a big commercial broker, $196 million in commercial.

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: That shows you I guess a bit about how we weight these rankings and the submissions when they come in. Some of the brokers we've been speaking to, and you'll hear them in some of the bonus episodes that come out over the following weeks, are really hot on commercial, which is a very different type of beast to resi-writing, which is obviously volume based. I mean, just taking this one for example, 19 deals. You compare that to a broker who's writing-

Annie Kane: 600.

James Mitchell: 600.

Annie Kane: Yeah.

James Mitchell: You think, "What's he doing in the top 10?" Commercial is completely different.

Annie Kane: He's doing whole development blocks, yeah.

James Mitchell: Exactly. $50 million deals, that sort of thing.

Annie Kane: Gosh. Then in number seven, we have a broker who's gone up five points, five places I should say, in the ranking from last year. He is the largest mover for this year and it is Tony Bice from Finance Made Easy. As James said, he's a Finsure broker.

James Mitchell: He is a Finsure broker. Tony's a good man. We've had him on the podcast before talking about insurance and financial planning. Tony's one of these brokers who actually saw I guess changes coming to the industry, saw the way things were going, that he needed to diversify his business and decided to get into financial planning I think five, six years ago, maybe even more. Rather then just referring out the financial planning, he actually got the qualification and he does that himself now. It's quite interesting to hear about how he integrates that into his business, so if you haven't already, check out the podcast we did with Tony Bice earlier in the year.

Annie Kane: That's reflected in his results, so 136,000 ... Sorry $136 million. I think I might've been saying thousand meaning million.

James Mitchell: Yeah.

Annie Kane:  $136 million in insurances and $96 million in resi-mortgages.

James Mitchell: Yeah, that's massive. $96 million in resi, but if you look at his total volumes, $244, almost a quarter of a billion dollars in total volumes, and just under $100 million of that was in resi, so that ... Yeah, like Annie said, gives you a good idea of how diversified his business is.

Annie Kane: Yeah.

James Mitchell: At number six we've got Jamie Giles. He's our highest rank new entrant this year and he's will Astute Financial. That's his aggregator. He's up in Queensland. Similar to Kevin James Wheatley actually, very much a commercial broker. He's done 63 deals over the 2017 financial year. $22 million, or just over, of which were resi, but a whopping $240 or thereabout, $239.5 million was in commercial. Total volumes just over $300 million. We've got a bonus episode with-

Annie Kane:  With Jamie coming up.

James Mitchell: Yeah, with Jamie coming up as well.

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: Which is really interesting. Like a lot of people in commercial, he was in the banking space for a long time, and was pretty senior in Westpac I believe and then moved into broking not too long ago. Obviously, he's got that down pat, that commercial thing, and so he's brought that over.

Annie Kane:  Then in spot five, we have-

James Mitchell: Down to the top five now.

Annie Kane: Yeah, the top five. Drum roll please. We have Adrian Lee from the Resource Financial Group and he's up three spaces. Ugh, I keep saying spaces. Places. Spaces and places. He's up three places to number five. Again, not a huge amount of mortgages, so 147, which equated to $127 million. Again, the insurance pulling him up $131 million and then other business, $47 million.

James Mitchell: Yeah, it's ... I was actually having a chat with Adrian. It wasn't on a podcast, we were just having a phone conversation. We were talking about Finchel, actually, because he was one of the founding members of Finchel. One thing that Finchel do, which I guess some ... A lot of aggregators do now, but they sort of carved out a bit of a niche at the time, was doing the insurance piece, the financial planning piece, either the broker stuff and sort of really trying to get brokers across all three. I mean, obviously in his numbers you can see that he's taken it on board.

Annie Kane: Yeah, we can ... You can learn a bit more about Finchel's proposition in the December supplement of The Advisor coming up.

James Mitchell: That's it. New year, new aggregator.

Annie Kane:  That's it. New year, new group. Then in fourth place we have, as we mentioned earlier, Mark Davis from ALIC. He is quite the phenomenal broker. He wrote the most mortgages of anybody in this ranking, so he wrote 983 mortgages in the 2017 financial year, which is an incredible amount. He came in with [Natasha Troy 00:07:59] for our new Broker Academy earlier this year and he works like an absolute fiend.

James Mitchell: Yeah.

Annie Kane:  It's sort of almost not surprising that he writes that much.

James Mitchell: He's a powerhouse.

Annie Kane:  Wow. Yeah, 983, that's an incredible amount. It equates to $287 million. Surprisingly though, not the highest in volume for the whole ranking, but the second highest.

James Mitchell: Last year I think it was just over 1,000 mortgages, which he wrote.

Annie Kane: Yeah.

James Mitchell: I remember we had him on the podcast and-

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: I think that was the headline or the teaser for the podcast, how to write over 1,000 mortgages.

Annie Kane:  Yeah, it was.

James Mitchell:         It got a lot of traction. It's always you come down a little bit, which is understanding considering what's going on with the investor space at the moment. Either way, that's a pretty remarkable amount of mortgages to write in one year.

Annie Kane: Yeah. Not particularly focused on commercial. He's only got $300,000 in that space, but then $42.7 million in total insurances. His total volumes for the year came in at $330 million. Well done to Mark, that's a great achievement.

James Mitchell: All right, top three.

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: At number three we've got Andrew Mirams from  Intuitive Finance. He's a connective broker based down in Victoria. He wrote 346 mortgages over the 2017 financial year.

Annie Kane:  2016/17.

James Mitchell: 2016/17 financial year, sorry. Total resi volumes, $179 million. I was going to say billion there. $179 million. He's bumped that up with a little bit of business in terms of other business, commercial, and that sort of stuff, and quite a decent amount of insurances. In fact, his insurance volume sort of almost are on parity with his resi volumes, which I guess gives you a bit of a indicator about how he runs his business. Total volumes just under $350 million.

Annie Kane:  Then in second place up one spot from last year is Josh Bartlett from Financially Healthy. The Loan Market broker down in Victoria wrote 408 mortgages totalling $185 million. Well done to you Josh.

James Mitchell: And a huge amount of insurance.

Annie Kane:  Yeah. That's what really brought him up. Again, what stood him out for this year was that he wrote $240 million in insurances and $185 in mortgages, so it just goes to show there's some serious volume that can be accessed that way.

James Mitchell: Josh is interesting. We've actually got quite an in depth interview with Josh where we discuss his figures and a bit more about his business. We did interview him almost a year ago I think for Elite Broker, but yeah, we've done a follow up which should be coming out pretty soon I think.

Annie Kane:  A few weeks.

James Mitchell: In a few weeks time. Yeah, Josh has been really interesting to watch over the years, because I remember the first time I heard about Josh was when I think someone at Loan Market gave me a call and said, "We got a young broker who's just started, and he's developed an app, and it's trying to integrate the agent and the broker piece." Obviously, Loan Market being part of the Ray White group, trying to get those referrals going and it was interesting as a sort of fintech-type broker that's developed an app story, but obviously he's gone gangbusters over the last five, six years and it's reaping serious benefits for him and his business, and for the Loan Market group being at number two.

Annie Kane:  I think one of the interesting things that he said to us before in the podcast is that, obviously he's writing these massive figures, but he does have a team of support staff behind him, which can help with the processing side of things. While there might be some broker listeners thinking, "Oh my goodness, I'm never going to be able to write-

James Mitchell: Yeah, it's not just him.

Annie Kane: 400 or 900 mortgages." It's not just him, he's obviously doing all the groundwork and he's getting all the client-facing stuff, but he does have a team of processes behind him. James, do you want to do the number one-

James Mitchell: Number one.

Annie Kane:  Spot?

James Mitchell: He's been number one before many times and he's number one again, Justin Doobov from Intelligent Finance in Sydney based in the eastern suburbs here. He's with Choice Aggregation and he wrote 593 individual deals last year. Those equate to just under $360 million in residential mortgages. He's done 34, just over $34 million in other business. Insurances, $317 million. His total volumes come to $711 million.

Annie Kane:  That's a huge, huge amount.

James Mitchell: Justin's still a force to be reckoned with in the mortgage broker industry.

Annie Kane:  Yeah, he's almost double anyone else's, so Josh Bartlett coming in close at $425 million, his total volumes. I mean, $711 million, that is really a lot.

James Mitchell: It is a lot.

Annie Kane: Well done to you Justin.

James Mitchell: Well done. We have a very big congratulations to Justin. We'll have to get him in for a podcast soon. He's a very hard man to track down, which is understandable if you're writing that type of volumes.

Annie Kane:  Yeah.

James Mitchell: We'll try to get him in for an Elite Broker Podcast soon and find out what his secret is.

Annie Kane: Congratulations goes to all of the brokers in the top 25. We also want to just point out some people who have moved up substantially this year, so Alex Shumsky, Loan Market. He has moved up 25 places from last year when we had a ranking of 50 brokers, so he's now 25th. Paul Wright came in at 19th. He was up 26 places. He's from Choice Home Loans in Wollongong. Then we also had Josh Egan and Alex Nochar.

James Mitchell: Nochay, yeap.

Annie Kane: Not Nochar, sorry. Sorry, Alex. Josh Egan-

James Mitchell: Astute Financial.

Annie Kane:  Moved up 13 places. Yeah, Josh from Astute Financial and then Alex moved up 12 from Shore Financial. Well done to you guys too. That's great work.

James Mitchell: I think it's also worth noting a high strength female broker in this year’s top 25 is Hannah Nguyen from Loan Market and she wrote 188 mortgages, $75 million in resi-volume, and obviously if you add in all the other metrics as well, the insurance and other business, that equates to $115 million in total volumes. I had a chat with Hannah for a podcast, which is one of the bonus episodes that's going to be going out and just had a little bit of a talk to you. She also won some big awards at Loan Market for their sort of national awards that they put on for their members.

            One of the things I asked her was about work-life balance, which has become a bit of a trend which we're asking quite a lot of brokers at the moment, particularly the high volume busy brokers. She said that basically she gets into work at 9:00, she leaves at 5:00, and she doesn't work on the weekends, and she doesn't go to anyone's house. She has a very structured way of running her business, so she gets plenty of time to enjoy life and spend with her family. We'll get a bit more into her story when the bonus episode comes out in a few weeks.

Annie Kane:  Stay tuned for those. Thank you so much for tuning in and if you want to know more about the top 25 Elite Business Writers for 2017 please do read the November edition of The Adviser. We'll hear more from our brokers, as we said, in the coming weeks. If you're interested in establishing yourself as a trusted SME broker or just want to learn more about how to capitalise on the opportunity, then why not attend The Adviser's SME Broker Bootcamp in association with principle partner NAB.

            It's visiting Sydney on the 14th of November, Melbourne the following day, Brisbane on the 23rd, and Perth on the 28th of November. It's a free to attend, one day boot camp, which will help answer all your questions and broaden your professional horizons. For more information, visit theAdviser.com.au/Bootcamp-SME-Broker. For everything else mortgage broking related, please tune into TheAdisor.com.au for the news and features. Thank you very much and catch you next time.



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