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SPECIAL EPISODE: Top 25 Brokerages revealed

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James Mitchell 26 minute read

This year the Top 25 Brokerages welcomed eight new entrants, a clear indicator that Australian mortgage businesses are continuing along a strong growth trajectory. Online brokerages are becoming increasingly prevalent, but the big franchise groups continue to dominate.

In this special episode of Elite Broker, we discuss:

  • How the Australian mortgage market is changing
  • The emergence of online brokerages
  • REA Group and Domain’s entry into the third-party channel
  • Full details of this year’s Top 25 Brokerages

 

Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

Full transcript

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James Mitchell: Hello, and welcome to Elite Broker. I'm your host, James Mitchel, editor of The Adviser, and we've got a very special episode today. We're going to be unveiling the Top 25 Brokerages for the 2016 financial year. Before I get into reading them off, I just wanted to talk a little bit about what's happening in the mortgage market at the moment in terms of broker businesses. They're been some renewed interest, or some interest from outside parties I guess, in the mortgage broking market.

We've seen realestate.com.au or REA Group acquire Smartline, or 80 per cent of Smartline, for $67 million dollars, and also deepen their relationship with NAB through choice home loans as well. So, REA Group is actually going to be broadening a mortgage broker offering for the market, which is quite exciting. That happened quite recently.

A couple of days after that announcement, Domain, probably REA Group's biggest rival, announced that they formed a joint venture with Lendi who were previously known as Australian Credit & Finance, aggregate through Connective. I think they've got about 250 employees now in that group, so, pretty decent size brokerage. Domain is actually going to be employing brokers as well.

So, there's some interesting things happening in the Australian mortgage market, and particularly through the third-party channel. We've got a lot of these big digital players, who obviously are very good at capturing customers and about generating leads. They're looking for those investments into third party. I think it's a good thing for the industry, you know. It really shows the strength of mortgage broking, where it's at, at the moment. It's definitely a vote of confidence, I'd say, where you know, there's been a bit of anxiety in the mortgage market at the moment. But, it's definitely a good thing to see some of these bigger groups taking a decent stake in investment.

I'll start off with the Top 25 Brokerages, but before I do, I'd just like to introduce my co-host today. Phil Tarrant. He's from Momentum Intelligence, and The Adviser's actually partnered with Momentum Intelligence on this report. How're you doing, Phil?

Phil Tarrant: Good, mate. Thanks for having me.

James Mitchell: No worries. So, maybe let's get into a few of the broader figures, I guess. There's 25 brokerages here. A lot of the top guys, which we'll reveal a bit later on, still in the same positions. A bit more movement in the lower down rankings, but maybe some of the total stats in terms of total loan book, and total volume, total loans settled. That sort of stuff might be quite interesting for our listeners.

Phil Tarrant: It's been an interesting year. So, the Top 25 Brokerage is now – this is its ninth instalment, so it's nearly gone for a decade. Nearly as long as The Adviser, which we all know celebrated its 10th birthday this year. This is a benchmark report, that over time, over those nine years, is really seeing the maturation of the mortgage brokerage business for many of these companies. It's been interesting being involved and observing how things have ebbed and flowed during that period of time. It obviously kicked off, post GFC, or right at the back side of GFC. We've seen quite a lot of change over that period of time, but what has been very clear has been the big guys have got a lot bigger.

James Mitchell: The big franchise groups.

Phil Tarrant: Yeah, and the distance between them and their peers, or other businesses, just gets wider and wider.

James Mitchell: Yeah.

Phil Tarrant: I think it's something we're going to see over time. When you look at, sort of, our one and two are obviously very big players. Then our sort of, threes, fours, and fives, again are significant organisations, but there's quite a large gap between them and one and two.

James Mitchell: Yeah.

Phil Tarrant: Then you see a lot smaller, more nimble operators coming through, who seem to perform really well in all the different metrics that we rank. So, going to your point around the investment that some of these large real estate players now make in this, it'll be interesting to see whether or not that inflow, or those referrals, that they can manufacture pretty quickly because people are looking at homes, whether that might change the face of the Top 25 Brokerages in the years ahead.

When you look at absolute numbers, so obviously the 25 people in this year's ranking is different from what it was in 2016, it was different in 2015, but what it allows us to do is look at the absolute size of these markets and how they're growing over time. So, when you compare 2016 with 2017, in terms of total loan book, 2017 is just shy of $200 billion. So, we're going to go through a lot of numbers right now. I'm pretty good with numbers, I should be able to get these right.

Total loan book, $199 billion for 2017. In 2016, it was $189 billion. That's 4.79 per cent increase. I guess that's understandable why that would be the case. But, when you look at actual loan volumes, so these are the volumes written for the year of the collective Top 25 Brokerages, are $52.678 billion for 2017, and that compares with $53.210 billion for 2016. So, there's been a very marginal drop of 1 per cent in there.

Now, you want to put some context around that? Perhaps APRA -

James Mitchell: Yeah, definitely.

Phil Tarrant: -and a lot of the restrictions that, a lot of the recommendations that APRA’s put in place, to try and slow investment lending and get some balance to the banks’ investment loan books, might be an indicator of why that might have dropped somewhat?

James Mitchell: Potentially, yeah. I mean, it's definitely been a busy year for that. That's been ongoing for quite some time, you know. Since 2014, APRA first introduced that 10 per cent cap for the banks, that's been playing out in all sorts of different ways for the lenders. Pricing and policy changes. In recent weeks, we saw some of the non-majors actually cut their LVRs to 50 per cent. So, they're really pulling back on that lending. I think that would definitely be one of the reasons why there's a slight drop off there.

Phil Tarrant: It might be, and there's lots of ways you can read into it. Coming from a research business, you get these findings and you can use them to benchmark, give it a read in terms of what's happening at a macro-level and at a micro-level. So, look, there's been a 1 per cent drop there. That might just be an indicator of different types of businesses that are appearing in the Top 25 Brokerages, but it gives an absolute idea. So, let's just say, it's pretty stable in terms of loan volumes, and that's within a market which is evolving quite quickly. My read and my discussions with both lenders and large aggregation and broking businesses is that, the government is trying to slow house price growth, understandably. There is always the context that the measures that APRA puts in place, and what lenders put in place, might only influence the Sydney and the Melbourne market and the rest of Australia's hurting. Look, at Perth, those guys are going backwards if any way.

James Mitchell:  I know a lot of brokers in Perth, and other places in the country aren't too happy with some of the things that APRA done. Sort of targeted shot gun approaches, what I heard one broker say.

Phil Tarrant: Yeah, absolutely. Look, these recommendations are for a good reason, and potentially slowing lending to investors. There is an outcome that they're trying to achieve, and we're seeing that play out right now. So, there's been a slight drop in terms of loan volumes. That's translated into the total loans settled in 2017 – 162,719 loans settled from our Top 25. That's dropped 1.8 per cent from 2016 which was 165,700. So, it's reflected in the loan volumes as the number of loans settled. When you look at the total number of brokers operating within these Top 25 Brokerages -

James Mitchell: That's gone up a lot.

Phil Tarrant: - that's gone up 10 per cent, or 10.25 per cent. So, 2,925 in 2017 versus 2,653 in 2016.

James Mitchell: That's a decent increase.

Phil Tarrant: You've got 10 per cent increase, so that means there's more brokers writing home loans, however, they're writing less volumes and less numbers settled. So, perhaps a lot of these broking operations are looking to bill for the future, and we'll get to broker productivity in a moment. That's reflected with this. It's very difficult how you can read these, James. This might be a period of growth, it might new brokers coming in. Now, you've got 53-plus per cent of all loans written through mortgage brokers now. Obviously, and I know in The Adviser, you write about this quite regularly, and you discussions with both banks and aggregations, that that is a number which is set to climb over time. So, my read on this may be a lot of brokerage businesses are looking to get brokers in place right now, get their skill sets up, ready to drive that charge to 53-plus per cent.

James Mitchell: A hundred per cent. I mean, some of the groups we spoke with, I spoke with, and listeners can listen to those bonus episodes with some of those groups as well, who I had a one on one chat with. A lot of what has happened, I guess, in the last five, ten years, maybe even more, is that some of these groups have, some of the smaller groups in particular, have had one very successful mortgage broker. They've built a book based on that person, but now they're really looking to scale, and they're looking to expand the business. They have been recruiting and on-boarding new brokers and they're still trying to get their processes and their strategies down. So, I reckon some of that broker productivity might even drop off a bit more in the years to come. But, I think it'll all balance out, because we'll eventually have a stronger industry and obviously that fresh blood coming in as well. So, it'll be more sustainable.

Phil Tarrant: I'd like to hear from your readers, James, particular the guys that run, or guys and girls that run the large aggregation business, and see whether there's some sights. They're reading this as well, so in the investment and broking, at the front end right now, and how that might play out to help sort of advance the charge for 53-plus per cent in the future. But, it's probably worthwhile looking at because when I look at these numbers, and we go to average loan sizes as a dollar amount, 2017 average loan size was $323,000. In 2016 it was $321,000. So, it's gone up 0.82 per cent, so 1 per cent. That's the nature of the housing market increase. It's an obvious reason why loan sizes will be going up. When you look at getting to a productivity area, average loan settled per broker, has dropped from 62 to 56 over a year, which is a 10.9 per cent decrease.

James Mitchell: I mean, if you look at the percentage change, the increase in the number of brokers is almost directly proportional to the fall in broker productivity. So, there's definitely a relationship there, you know? These groups might not be, on the whole, as productive per broker. But they are, like I said, bringing in fresh blood.

Phil Tarrant: In terms of business, potentially bulking up within the franchise space ... So, within the report we like to delineate between franchise and non-franchise based brokering, and you get some different numbers. For franchise based brokers, in terms of productivity, they've dropped from $18.9 million per broker to $17.1 but you can compare that with broker productivity from non-franchise outlets, which are traditionally a lot smaller than your large franchise businesses. That's dropped form $26 million to $24 million per broker. So, a larger decrease in the franchise than non-franchise. But they've both come off.

James Mitchell: They have. All of these groups, whether franchise or non-franchise, they're looking to on-board brokers. In terms of the franchise groups, I think their new broker strategies, or their recruitment strategies, are probably a bit more mature. They've got their processes down pat. And I think it's sort of like the nature of the beast, they've got huge total volumes, which run through them each year. They've got big loan books, but in addition to maintaining that they have to keep on recruiting new brokers. Groups like Aussie Home Loans, for example, I was having a chat with James Simon, the CEO, and he said that Aussie's probably been the biggest recruiter of brokers in Australia. Full stop. I guess there's a lot more to some of these franchise groups than just big numbers and big volumes. They're really on-boarding brokers and training them up to be potential leaders. You know, I've got a good guy on-board -

Phil Tarrant: Historically, it's been a great nursery for-

James Mitchell: That's right.

Phil Tarrant: - today's mortgage leaders.

James Mitchell: Exactly.

Phil Tarrant: They kind of come out of the Aussie family, and the industry is a result of it. Seen a much better space. Looks are dynamics here, and we're banging out some big numbers, and you can read them all in the upcoming issue of The Adviser.

James Mitchell: That's right. 

Phil Tarrant: But, just some other sort of high level numbers here. Percentage of online applications, 99 per cent. That's good. Conversion rate with a primary lender, 88 per cent. So, you know 9 in 10 loans are going through without too much problem. Average years of experience for each of the brokers that operate within the Top 25, just shy of 10 years. Average life of a loan, which is interesting, it's gone from 3.8 in 2016 to 5.1. They're longer loans, so therefore that might be an indicator for why there's not many loans written, because the length of them have increased. So, whether or not they're getting refinanced. They can't get refinanced because the rules around serviceability have changed. Many might be sort of 4, early 4, 4.5 per cent that's sort of recently gone up the last couple of weeks, I read in The Adviser. But serviceability is 7-plus per cent, under the new APRA recommendations. So, maybe that's had another reason for it.

James Mitchell: Alright, shall we get into the Top 25?

Phil Tarrant: Well, it's your ranking.

James Mitchell: Alright.

Phil Tarrant: You want to run them down.

James Mitchell: Alright. Well, in terms of the methodology, The Adviser readers can read all about that in the issue of the magazine, where we will have the full ranking as well. Basically, we've run a number of different metrics, years in business, number of brokers that are employed by each brokerage, total support staff, as well. Total loan book for FY 16. Loan book per years in business. Number of loans settled over FY 16. Broker productivity and total volumes, as well. So, to start off with...

Number 25. We've got a non-franchise group, national group. MoneyWise Global Home Loans. They've been 18 years in business. They've got seven brokers. Three support staff. They wrote $154 million dollars in total volumes over FY 16.

At number 24 we've got SwitchNow Home Loans. These are a franchise group, Victoria-based. They've got five brokers and they wrote $128 million dollars over FY 16. Their broker productivity is just a little over $25 million dollars per broker.

At number 23 we've got Option Finance Australia. They're new to this year's ranking. A non-franchise group, based in New South Wales. Been in the business for about 15 year. $190 million dollars in total volumes over FY 16.

At number 22 we've got MCP Group. They're new to this year's ranking as well. Non-franchise group, Victoria-based, and 12 brokers. They've got a total loan book of $590 million dollars, and $193 million dollars was written in total volumes in FY 16.

At number 21, Strategic Investor Group, another new addition.

Oh, yeah, just for those listeners, to let you know. We've got eight new entrants to this year's Top 25, which is a significant amount, I think.

So, Strategic Investor Group. New South Wales-based, six brokers, a total of 19 support staff, and $169 million dollars, or just over it, in FY 16.

At number 20, another new addition to this year's ranking – a non-franchise group from Western Australia. They've been in the business for four years. They've got five brokers, four support staff. They wrote $131 million dollars in total volumes in the FY 16.

Phil Tarrant: That was Franchise 365 wasn't it?

James Mitchell: Yes, Franchise 365. That's correct.

At number 19 we've got Mortgage and Finance Solutions. Another WA-based group. Been in the business for 16 years. They've got a total loan book of just over a billion dollars, and they wrote $188 million dollars over FY 16.

Finance Detective have made it to number 18 this year. They've got five brokers, two support staff, and $194 million dollars was written by them in total volumes over FY 16.

At number 17 we've got Trilogy Funding. They've moved up one place from last year. They're a non-franchise group based in the ACT. They've been in the business for quite a while, 14 years. They've got six brokers, five support staff, and a loan book just over a billion dollars. In FY 16 they wrote $241 million dollars in mortgages.

At number 16, a brokerage called Rate One. They've actually gone up nine places since last year's ranking. Victoria-based group. They've been in the business for seven years. They've got 25 brokers, seven support staff. So, a decent sized outfit. Their total loan book is $687 million dollars, and they wrote a significant amount over FY 16. $438 million dollars in mortgages.

Acceptance Finance is number 15. A decent increase up the ranking from last year with those guys. They're a non-franchise group, as well, from Victoria. Been in the business for 15 years, and they wrote $294 million dollars in mortgages over FY 16.

Green Finance Group are a new addition this year. And they're Queensland based, seven years in the business. They've got nine brokers, a decent amount of support staff, 21 support staff. They wrote $373 million dollars in volumes over FY 16. Total loans settled for them was 797 loans.

Alright. I'll take a little bit of a break, but before I do I'll list the next brokerage because there's a bit of a story to these guys. I did sit down with the CEO, which you can listen to in a bonus episode, and it's quite interesting. So, it's a bit of landmark moment that we've got iSelect in our Top 25 Brokerages. They've made it to number 13. They're the highest ranked new entrant this year. They're Victoria based, but I'm sure I don't need to give them too much introduction, because anyone whose obviously gone online to look for health insurance might have come across iSelect. They've also got a mortgage broking business. They aggregate through AFG and I had a chat with Scott Wilson, the CEO, pretty much about how a group like iSelect is coming into the mortgage market.

I guess, it relates a little bit to what I said in the beginning of the show, where we've got groups like REA, Domain, entering the mortgage broking space. And iSelect have actually been playing in the mortgage broking space for five years. They've got 25 brokers, and they've got a loan book just under a billion dollars. In FY 16, I'm sorry, they wrote $404 million dollars in mortgages. Scott Wilson the CEO actually said that they're looking to quadruple those volumes over the next few years. Basically, they've got their sort of online lodgement process down, pat. They're a lead generation machine, ultimately. ASX-listed company. Big website. Big SEO. They've got a lot of traffic through there.

Their business is, I guess, potentially where the future of a lot of mortgage broking businesses are going. Where, rather than being a finance expert and then trying to find out how to be a marketer as well, and generate leads, they've got the lead generation model down pat, and they're pretty much bolting in a home loan offering on the back of it. So, very interesting discussion I had with Scott, and you can catch that on the bonus episode, like I said.

At number 12 we've got N1 Loans. And they're a really interesting group as well, N1. So, they wrote $336 million dollars in mortgages over FY 16. Which, equates to 468 individual loans, and their loan book is $790 million dollars. So, N1 Loans is run by a guy called Ren Wong and he's a regular in our Elite Broker list. They're also a listed group as well. They've really caught onto this diversification bug, which is something we've been hammering on about for quite a while in The Adviser, but they really have diversified their business. So, they've gone into real estate, they've gone into financial planning and migration services as well. Ran a couple of years back, launched a website called changdai.com.au which is essentially a mortgage comparison sight for Chinese language, or Chinese borrowers. So, again, with the lead generation component, it's quite interesting with these guys, what they're doing. I think they’re actually the most improved in this year's ranking, up nine places from last year's ranking.

At number 11 we've got Tiffin & Co. They've been in the business for 21 years, so decent amount of time with Tiffin & Co. They've been in the Top 25 Brokerages on and off, over the last nine years that we've been running it. They're a non-franchise group based out of Canberra and they've got a decent size loan book, just under two billion dollars. They wrote $424 million dollars over FY 16.

Alright, we're down to the top 10. Phil?

Phil Tarrant: One remark I'd make around Tiffin & Co. They're very strong in broker productivity. So, they're small in broker numbers, six, but very high in productivity. $70 million each.

James Mitchell: $70 million across six brokers.

Phil Tarrant: That's good numbers.

James Mitchell: That is good numbers. Well, they've got ten support staff as well. It's quite interesting to look at the brokerages, which have fairly high number of support staff, and how that correlates to their broker productivity as well.

Phil Tarrant: Absolutely. You know, different models for different businesses, and Tiffin & Co. obviously invest in quality support staff, to support their brokers who are probably focused on getting in front of clients, rather than doing loan processing.

James Mitchell: Alright. We're down to the top 10. Here we go.

KeyInvest Lending Services is up four places from last year's ranking. South Australian-based outfit. Been in the business for 18 years, KeyInvest. They've got a decent amount of brokers. 78 brokers, seven support staff. Loan book of just over $3.5 billion dollars, and they wrote just under half a billion dollars in FY 16. $446 million for FY 16.

Smartmove, Sydney-based brokerage. They've got 13 years in the business. They've also got 13 brokers. Yeah, number 9, and they wrote $598 million dollars over FY 16. Smartmove's another interesting brokerage, Phil. They're just up the road from the studio here, in Neutral Bay, in Sydney. They're one of the growing number of brokerages, which is actually outsourced a lot of its processes to operations abroad. Another one is Home Loan Experts, they've got their operations in Nepal. But, Smartmove have an office in Manila, and if you check out the latest issue of The Adviser magazine, we've done a bit of a profile on them, and it's quite interesting what they're doing over there. In terms of how the Manila office has really fed into what they're doing here, and it's basically changed the way they recruit brokers as well. They're really looking for these relationship experts, to handle the lead generation and the relationship part, the broking component, and then anything that can outsourced, or processed out, gets done in Manila as well. Another thing, which Darren Little, who is the general manager of Smartmove, was telling me recently, the Manila office is very much a natural extension to their Sydney office. It's not like a poor cousin, or an outsource centre, or anything like that. Everything from the plasma screens in their Sydney office, every stick of furniture, the same stuff is in the Philippines. So, it's exactly the same quality of office and the processes are pretty much identical. And they get the teams regularly together to discuss best practise, and share things, as well. Which, is really quite exciting.

Oxygen Homelands is number 8. Non-franchise group, and obviously owned by McGrath. They've been in the business for 13 years. They've got 28 brokers and a loan book of just over $2.3 billion dollars. They wrote $817 million dollars in FY 16.

Resolve Finance are number 7. WA-based brokerage. They've been in the business for 20 years. They've got a bit of an interesting history, Resolve Finance. Operating in all sorts of areas: asset, finance, commercial, as well as residential. They've got 39 brokers, and a loan book of just over $3 billion dollars and $826 million in volumes over FY 16.

At number 6 we have the Australian Lending & Investment Centre. Non-franchise group based out of Victoria. Obviously, a lot of listeners out there will know Mark Davis, who is a pretty decent loan writer. I think he wrote over 1,000 loans in FY 16. He was in our Elite Broker Top 50.

Phil Tarrant: I'd say that's more than pretty decent.

James Mitchell: Yeah, I think it was something like 1093 individual loans that he wrote. We've had him on the show, and actually he was someone that was talking about a lot of the investment changes. Obviously, given the name, they're quite property investor centric, in terms of the loans that go through their business. The podcast we did with Mark, he was talking really about the APRA changes and how that's fed through to what he's seeing, pricing and policy, and where he's putting his customers has really opened up his business to working a lot more with the non-bank lenders, which is quite exciting. He said, they weren't even something he really considered, previously, but because of the APRA he's had to diversify his lender panel quite a lot. Which is quite exciting.

Phil Tarrant: Also, he's very strong on the broker productivity side. $84.5 million per broker.

James Mitchell: $84 and a half. That's fantastic.

Phil Tarrant: Strong performance.

James Mitchell: We are down to the top five.

There's not too much movement, in the top five.

At number five we have Loan Market. Obviously, part of the Ray White group. A franchise organisation. They've been 22 years in the business. They've got 552 brokers, they've got 64 support staff and a pretty decent sized loan book, just over $27 billion dollars. $7.3 billion in total volumes over FY 16. But, when it comes to broker productivity, that was $13.2 million per broker. So, not too great with the broker productivity. However, like we said in the beginning of the show, a lot of these big franchise groups, they've got the volumes, they've got the brokers, but there's a lot their doing on the recruitment side as well.

At number four we've got 1st Street Financial. Quite a high achievement, a high performing brokerage, First Street, obviously. Lead by Jeremy Fisher, the founder and managing director. They're based out of the Eastern Suburbs here in Sydney. They've been in the business for 15 year. They've got nine brokers, a number of support staff, and a total loan book of $4.6, or just over $4.6 billion dollars. Over FY 16 they $820 million dollars in total volumes.

I caught up with Jeremy a bit earlier, and you can listen to that in another bonus episode, as well, and I was actually asking him about broker productivity, because in terms of all the Top 25 Brokerages we've got here, they were our number one for broker productivity. So, just over $91 million dollars per broker, which is pretty phenomenal.

Phil Tarrant: Is that a product of where they're based? Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, so big ticket properties, plus good brokers, plus strength in terms of use of business. I've been watching 1st Street Financial rise from when they first launched, and ranking from way down in the 20s up until number 4 now. They tick a lot of boxes across all the metrics. Very strong in broker productivity. Volumes, just on $820 million, so it's not massive volumes compared to some of their peers, but it's strong comparatively. Good number of loans settled. They've grown their loan book, per years in business, quite quickly which, is impressive. They're doing a good job.

James Mitchell: When I had a chat with Jeremy he said the broker productivity is probably a little bit higher than that, because they've actually brought on some new brokers who aren't actually ticking over too much at the moment. A lot of that figure is down to some of those really hard hitting loan writers, who were just doing huge volumes. He explained to me, that's sort of the nature of their business. They're looking for ambitious brokers, driven brokers, to join. It's not this sort of model where, you know, if you want to join 1st Street you can just join 1st Street. They're pretty selective about what brokers they're bringing to the business – so, yeah, very interesting outfit.

Alright. The top three brokerages. Here we go. And they're also the biggest brokerages in the country, no surprises there.

At number three, we've got Smartline, personal mortgage advisers. They haven't moved since their position last year. They've been in the business for 18 years. Just over 300 brokers, and a loan book of $25 billion dollars. $6.2 billion dollars in total volumes over FY 16. As I said in the beginning of the show, Smartline was recently acquired by REA Group, parent company of realestate.com.au and I caught up with Joe Sirianni on the day that was announced. He pretty much told me about what they're doing at the moment, obviously gearing up for that change, you know, to go into the REA Group fold, and they're sort of building out their digital platform at the moment. To see how they'll be able to capture the leads, basically coming through the realestate.com.au website. But, I reckon we can expect some exciting things ahead from Smartline as a result of that big deal, that big announcement.

At number two we've Mortgage Choice – obviously one of the biggest national mortgage broking franchises in the country. They've got a loan book of $52 billion dollars and total volumes of $12.7 billion over the FY 16. Broker productivity was just under Smartline's. So, Smartline's broker productivity was around $20 million, per broker per year. Mortgage Choice was just under that - $19.8, $19.9 in broker productivity.

And, of course, the number one, Aussie Home Loans. I'm pretty sure Aussie have been number one for quite a few years.

Phil Tarrant: A number of years. Yeah.

James Mitchell: Biggest brokerage in the country. They've just celebrated their 25th year in business. If you look at the sheer number of brokers in the Aussie family, compared to Smartline, 300, Mortgage Choice, 642 – Aussie's got 1,094 brokers in the business. If you consider, I guess, broker productivity, $16.7 million dollars a year, Aussie, like I said earlier on, they've been one of the biggest recruiters, if not the biggest recruiter of brokers over the last 25 years. Almost since broking has been in existence in Australia, and whether they're brokers that stay with Aussie or they're brokers that go on and do other things, it's testament I guess to the position that they have in the industry. And they've really been a pioneer of mortgage broking, you know.

Phil Tarrant: They have done. And looking at these rankings, and Aussie's dominance, I'd say Aussie's and Mortgage Choice's dominance, going through the numbers. Obviously, it's a very arduous process to actually determine and establish this ranking, a lot of quality checking, a lot of disclosure of information. The reseasrch team here have racked their brains over it a bit. But Aussie, time and time again, dominates the ranking, and you know the initial spirit of cred in this Top 25 Brokerages was that yes, size is important, but the other stuff is also important, as well. So, broker productivity, how well you run your shop. What we've established with this is that although Aussie doesn't have the highest broker productivity, it's probably towards the lower spectrum, and therefore don't rank as well as what they do on other metrics. The scale of the business just keep forging ahead as well.

James Mitchell: Absolutely.

Phil Tarrant: To my earlier observation, the gap between one and two, so Aussie and Mortgage Choice, to the next two down. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And that's because of the larger significant engines which are apparent in these businesses.

James Mitchell: For sure.

Phil Tarrant: It'll be interesting to see how it grows over time, but they're going to be hard groups to chase and catch.

James Mitchell: Absolutely, and just before we wrap up, I'll just remind all the listeners out there that you can catch the bonus episodes with Jeremy Fisher from 1st Street, coming in at number four, Aussie Home Loans, I had a chat with James Symond. They're the number one again this year, so you can listen out for that. And also, Scott Wilson from iSelect, our highest-ranked newcomer, and obviously a bit more of a digital brokerage as well. So, I had a pretty extensive chat with Scott. Also, I asked James Simon for his input, or what his thoughts were with a group like iSelect and some of these more digital phone based brokerages coming into the market, and you should definitely listen out for that because he gives some interesting insight.

 

SPECIAL EPISODE: Top 25 Brokerages revealed
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James Mitchell

James Mitchell

James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.

He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.

He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.

James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.

 

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