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APRA changes to put ‘pendulum back in broker’s court’

by Tas Bindi4 minute read

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APRA’s revised mortgage serviceability guidance will “put the pendulum back in the broker’s court”, according to former SFG national operations manager Frank Paratore, who has just joined Purple Circle as COO. 

Frank Paratore, the former national operations manager at Specialist Finance Group who has just taken up a new position in Purple Circle Financial Services’ leadership team, said he is optimistic about the future of both the mortgage and broking industries, saying that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) revised home lending serviceability guidance will “put the pendulum back in the broker’s court”.

The new Purple Circle chief operating officer (COO) noted that the broking industry has “weathered many storms” over the last few years – which include APRA’s review into remuneration, the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into competition, the financial services royal commission, and political threats to remove trailing commission – and that the time has come for brokers to enjoy the boost in borrower confidence and, subsequently, home buying activity. 

Lenders, aggregators and brokers alike welcomed APRA proceeding with its plans to remove its 7 per cent interest floor for mortgage serviceability assessments and instead allow authorised deposit-taking institutions to review and set their own minimum interest rate floor and utilise an interest rate buffer of at least 2.5 per cent over the loan’s interest rate.

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“I’m really excited about the opportunities that are out there for us,” Mr Paratore said, noting that the changes will “stimulate activity” again. 

“The brokers within this wonderful industry continue to show massive resilience by getting the job done and continuing to grow their market share.” 

Speaking of his new position at Purple Circle, Mr Paratore said there are a number of reasons he was drawn to the boutique aggregator, including its independence of ownership, share structure and collaborative approach to steering the business forward. 

The Purple Circle COO, who has 30 years of experience in financial services, revealed that he had left SFG over a month ago to explore new career opportunities. 

He caught up with his longtime acquaintance Purple Circle managing director Greg Pennells – who founded and sold Choice Aggregation – to learn more about how the boutique aggregator operated and its future plans. At the time, he said he was seeking a role in which he could “make a significant difference and put a business on the map”, but also from an ownership perspective, he was looking for an opportunity to “put [his] hand in the pocket, so to speak, as a shareholder within the business.”

“The work that has been done over the last two and a half years has set Purple Circle Financial Services up to be a significant boutique aggregator in Australia,” Mr Paratore said. 

“The combination of good people, a growing distribution capability and no institutional ownership are vital ingredients to build a successful aggregation business. 

“I hope that with my experience I can help the team of Purple Circle deliver further success and, ultimately, great returns for broker shareholders over time.” 

Commenting on Mr Paratore’s appointment, Purple Circle CEO Michael Stephens said: “Frank is an excellent addition to the team. He brings highly relevant industry experience in aggregation and distribution gained from an impressive career as a senior leader with Specialist Finance Group and Ballast Finance. 

“He has a wealth of expertise in business strategy, along with demonstrated achievements in the broker journey experience, governance models and marketing, specifically related to aggregation.” 

Mr Stephens continued: “As we focus on delivering our growth plans, I am confident we now have the right mix of skills to provide appropriate guidance and oversight to our executive team.”

SFG was not able to discuss the business’s recruitment plans following Mr Paratore’s departure. 

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APRA changes to put ‘pendulum back in broker’s court’
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Tas Bindi

Tas Bindi

AUTHOR

Tas Bindi is the features editor for The Adviser magazine. 

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