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Debtor finance

Staff Reporter 26 minute read

Debtor finance is one of the fastest growing working capital products in Australia and around the world, so what do brokers need to know to succeed in this market? 

DEBTOR FINANCE has become an increasingly popular option in overseas markets for business owners to improve their cash flow and waive waiting periods when it comes to invoices.

The market has plenty of opportunities for growth, and is poised to take off in Australia, according to Neil Tunstall, managing director of Thane Financial.

“Debtor finance is one of the fastest growing working capital products, not only in Australia but also worldwide – particularly if you look at the UK,” Mr Tunstall says.

“The UK market has something like 46,000 to 48,000 businesses operating in this space, turning over about £212 billion per annum. So it’s becoming quite a major finance area.”

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According to Mr Tunstall, the Australian market is likely to mimic both this growth and the increasing popularity that debtor finance has enjoyed in other economies.

“What we tend to do in Australia though is we tend to be slow adapters,” he says. “Australia is in the infancy stage with this market, but there is enormous room for growth. There are a number of new players who are looking to come into the market as well. This will continue to happen, particularly as we’re in a fairly interesting stage of the credit cycle.

“I think there is a lot of room for the product to continue to improve.”

SO, WHAT IS IT?

“Debtor finance is a financing facility that assists a business to manage its cash flow requirements,” Deloitte’s senior analyst, forensic, Chris Wood explains. “In simple terms, the financier lends cash to a business based on the value of its accounts receivable ledger. This provides the business with the benefits of cash from a credit sale sooner.”

Figures from Deloitte show the Australian debtor financing market is estimated to have grown from $11 billion in 2000 to $59 billion in 2010.

According to Mr Wood, a number of larger banks have “exited the product” in recent years, “while additional smaller financial institutions have added it to their portfolios”.

The numbers, it seems, are continuing to increase. The Debtor and Invoice Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand (DIFA) says the “total debtor financing turnover in the December 2012 quarter was $16.6 billion – an increase of 2.9 per cent on the September 2012 quarter”.

So, what’s happening in business and why is this market growing?

Analysis carried out recently by research firm Dun & Bradstreet reveals that the average time for an invoice to be paid is now 54 days.

For growing businesses, this is clearly problematic. Paul Lambess, owner and finance broker at CVG Finance, believes that debtor finance is in many cases the obvious solution.

“In the fast-paced business market of Australia, cash flow is critical to a business’ growth and success,” he says. “Debtor finance is a specialist finance product that funds 80 per cent of an invoice cost within 24 to 48 hours.

“Upon payment of the invoice, the remaining 20 per cent is cleared into the client account, minus interest charges.

“This product is a cost-effective way to fund growth and has assisted many businesses to finance growth without the requirement of the typical ‘bricks and mortar’ security.”

Wayne Smith, general manager for Queensland of debtor finance provider Scottish Pacific, agrees: “Debtor finance is typically needed where a business is growing,” Mr Smith says. “That’s where the product works best because the growth becomes self-perpetuating. You can raise an invoice and get cash for that invoice to pay for stock, pay for wages and raise more invoices without having to wait to get paid.

“That’s the real benefit of it.”

Scott Smith, director of Cairns Finance, says debtor finance offers real solutions to clients who are at the mercy of economic and business cycles.

“Debtors are a dynamic asset,” he says. “They can fluctuate with business cycles and seasonal factors. Most growing businesses will see their debtors growing over time and debtor finance can potentially grow too – unlike an overdraft which is for a fixed ceiling and/or leverages a fixed asset to support it.

“Currently, I see many good quality businesses grow even when economic activity across many sectors is modest. On the flip side of this, the value of the directors’ homes may be much more stagnant, which means that the business may struggle to obtain the assistance they need to continue to grow.

“This has seen debtor finance for some time be one of the fastest growing products in the business finance suite.”

According to Mr Smith, the value of this product to businesses is clear: “It’s very simple: cash is king in a business. Profitability, regardless of how large, simply does not pay bills and cash does.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE

As a broker, you may not have considered adding debtor finance to your armoury. However, Ballast CEO Frank Paratore says that the more you can offer your clients, the better off your business will be.

“Brokers who integrate other services and look at the bigger finance picture will provide a better relationship solution to their customers,” Mr Paratore says. “It will help brokers to transition from being transaction-based to being relationship-focused.

“That doesn’t mean brokers have to be the person who provides every service – not at all. What we’re asking them to do is be the conduit and the point of contact between the services.

“By doing that, you’re providing a better relationship to your customer. You’re locking them in, you’re protecting your trail and you’ll be making a better margin. It’s a more profitable business model.”

Mr Paratore believes that if brokers decide not to take this path, they may find their clients going elsewhere.

“What they’re missing by doing that is [that] someone else is going to do it for them,” he says.

THIS REPORT

In The Adviser’s first comprehensive report on debtor finance, we will look at the opportunities that exist for brokers.

Those brokers who deal extensively in the commercial finance market are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of debtor finance.

Every broker, however, can tap into this market and offer more to their clients.

The report will also examine in detail the target market: Who needs debtor finance? Which of your existing clients may already have one of these arrangements in place? How can you find, and target, clients who need a debtor finance product?

In order to effectively tap into this market, brokers would do well to understand how the market and the products and lenders in this space work.

This report’s product showcase will act as a starting point for brokers, familiarising them with the structure of the loans.

We will conclude with a look at the bigger picture – how debtor finance fits into the wider third party distribution channel and the role it plays in diversification, commercial broking and the business lending sector.

A number of brokers and businesses who have successfully integrated a debtor finance offering into their business will also give their top tips and insights into how it works and how it has benefited their client base and bottom line.

 

CASHING IN

Debtor finance may be a growing market, but how can brokers benefit from getting involved?

WHEN MANY brokers are thinking about where their businesses could go next and which other services they could offer their clients, getting involved with debtor finance may not be top of the list.

At first glance, it might even seem like an unusual step to take. After all, property isn’t involved in debtor finance transactions and the money isn’t directly linked to a piece of equipment or a tangible good. Instead, it’s all about cash.

However, brokers who decide to go down this path can reap the benefits, including growing their bottom line, catering to more of their clients’ needs, tapping into a niche market and growing their database.

Plus, as Wayne Smith, Scottish Pacific’s general manager for Queensland explains, brokers who do debtor finance transactions don’t have to do so by themselves.

“It’s simple for brokers to do debtor finance transactions in the sense that they can be as involved as they want to be,” he says.

“All debtor finance providers pretty much have the same view. We accept that it’s not something that a broker is going to see every day. For that reason, we don’t expect everybody to become an expert.

“We are happy just to say, ‘Give us a name and number and a brief description of the situation and we’ll run with it’. Or some brokers ring us and say, ‘I’ll tee up a meeting with you, myself and the client. Can you come along and take it from there?’

“We’re really looking for introductions rather than full blown applications or submissions from brokers. It’s all about the opportunity for both us and the broker – they get upfront and trail commission for the life of the facility.”

Mr Smith says Scottish Pacific is happy to work with brokers to ensure they capitalise on the opportunities which debtor finance offers and get the most they can from the transaction.

“There is some flexibility with commissions, depending on which debtor finance provider you look at. For us, we’ve got standard terms, but we’re always prepared to work with the broker to understand what they want from the situation.”

DIFFERENTIATING YOUR BUSINESS

Paul Lambess, owner and finance broker at CVG Finance, says that by offering debtor finance, he has differentiated his business, opened himself up to new clients and become an expert in a market segment which is under-serviced in Australia.

He says he ‘fell into’ the debtor finance market because his commercial and business clients needed help in this area.

“But then I realised that as a broker, there wasn’t a lot of competition [in this space]. There were also a lot of clients, and even some referrers, who weren’t actually aware of it,” he says.

“So it gave me a level of expertise or knowledge that I was able to pass on to clients and referrers that they hadn’t heard about previously.

“If you go and talk to someone about a home loan – well, everyone knows what a home loan is. The same goes for a commercial property loan or an overdraft.

“But going in and speaking about debtor finance and the dozen or more funders that do it, you get clients’ interest and there’s a bit of expertise and knowledge that you can pass on to gain their trust.

“Ultimately, you can offer them a solution that’s really valid for them.”

Neil Tunstall, managing director of Thane Financial, says that brokers who deal with equipment finance are in a particularly good position to take advantage of debtor finance opportunities.

“These brokers need to ask their clients, ‘What will this do to your working capital situation? What will it do to your cash flow?’” Mr Tunstall says.

“And nine times out of 10, they will say that they have an overdraft,” he says.

“If that’s the case, is that overdraft travelling well? Is it sufficient? Do we need to look at a way that we can help their business grow further?

“And that’s where debtor finance really comes into play.”

ON TARGET

To succeed in this market, brokers need to know who requires debtor finance and how to attract them

DEBTOR FINANCE products have a broad application and can help businesses in a wide variety of industries – everything from retail to transport.

Brokers with commercial and business clients are thus well-positioned to capitalise on these opportunities – but brokers who just have clients with residential mortgages need not necessarily miss out.

Those who are already succeeding in the debtor finance space say it’s all about asking the right questions and finding out about your clients’ work circumstances, their financial position and their future aspirations.

The more you know about your clients, the more likely you are to establish whether they have a business that could be in need of debtor finance.

GROWING BUSINESSES

Regardless of size or turnover, a great many businesses may require debtor finance at some stage in their life cycle, but the one thing most of these businesses have in common is growth.

“Debtor finance is particularly useful for growing businesses or businesses that find that they have a change in their trading cycles and their cash flow gets a little thrown out,” says Daryl Groves, director of Matrix Finance Group.

“A majority of our clients are SMEs and some of them have limited capacity to borrow from a bank because of limitations with bricks and mortar security.”

Wayne Smith, general manager for Queensland at debtor finance provider Scottish Pacific, says there are several sectors in the economy that benefit from debtor finance products.

“We work with clients who sell business-to-business on standard trade credit terms. We write a lot of business with recruitment companies, temporary labour hire, transport, manufacturing and wholesaling,” Mr Smith says.

“The situation is typically where a business is growing – that’s where the product works best because the growth becomes self-perpetuating.”

Neil Tunstall, managing director of Thane Financial, says that when it comes to businesses that require debtor finance, size and turnover are not the most important factors. Scale of growth and the industry in which the business operates are far more significant.

“It could be manufacturing, wholesaling, labour hire, transportation or distribution. These are the sorts of industries that suit the debtor finance profile very well,” Mr Tunstall says.

Brokers need to be talking to clients in these industries about what is restraining their business growth, he says, adding that in most instances, the major road block is limited access to working capital.

In other instances, those who require debtor finance are looking to refinance and change how their business lending is structured.

According to Scottish Pacific’s Mr Smith, some business owners are looking to remove the family home from the equation and would prefer to have the business support itself.

This, he says, can easily come up in conversation if a broker is discussing overdrafts and other current lending arrangements with a client.

TARGETING THE RIGHT PEOPLE

Scott Smith, director of Cairns Finance, says the more questions brokers ask their clients, the more potential debtor finance transactions they may uncover.

“You need to ask your business clients if they trade on credit terms and would benefit from unlocking the equity in their debtors to help grow or sustain the business. If the answer is ‘yes’, the mortgage broker should align themselves with someone experienced in debtor finance products and review this further together.”

Finding and targeting debtor finance clients then, is all about using what you already have and asking the right questions.

Paul Lambess, owner and finance broker at CVG Finance, believes you should start with your existing clients and ask them for referrals.

If you have one client running a business that relies on invoices for sustainable cash flow, chances are they know other business owners in a similar situation.

Asking for referrals, according to Mr Lambess, is the perfect place to start if you are looking to attract more business, commercial and debtor finance clients.

However, you also need to familiarise yourself with the market so you know where to look and what to ask.

“You need to understand the market a little bit,” says Mr Lambess. “You need to know what businesses would typically have a cash flow problem and ask the right questions when you’re speaking to a client or referrer.” 

This, he says, will help you establish yourself as a source of knowledge and expertise within the industry.

According to Mr Lambess, many clients are unfamiliar with the prospect of using debtor finance as a solution, so the more you know, the more likely you are to attract those people looking for answers.

Many new and existing referral partners may also be unfamiliar with debtor finance, so constant communication about what you can offer your clients is essential.

Mr Smith says brokers also need to look at the clients they already have, and think about the sectors in which they work.

“I think the first thing I would look at if I was in that situation would be the sectors,” he says. “Have they got transport or manufacturing customers?”

Clients such as these may already have debtor finance facilities in place, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the line.

“I think at that stage, brokers can ask, ‘Are you happy with it? Would you like an alternative quote?’,” he says.

Beyond that, he says, it’s all about having the right conversations.

“You need to talk to clients about their situations,” Mr Smith says. “‘Are you growing? How are you funding your growth? How do you finance your business at the moment? What plans have you got regarding real estate?

“Would you be interested in moving your borrowings away from real estate to a debtor finance facility and using that equity to gear up and buy another property?’

“They are some of the conversations brokers can have with their clients to introduce the debtor finance concept,” Mr Smith says.

BE PREPARED

Preparation and a little bit of background knowledge are key to attracting clients within this space.

Doing extra work and research when you’re already busy may not seem like an appealing concept, but FrontRunner Consulting’s Doug Mathlin says it’s not too difficult – and it will help you attract and retain clients.

Brokers who are concerned about introducing a product or concept that their borrowers had not previously considered need to remember that they are their clients’ trusted financial adviser.

“The customer has already decided they want to borrow money, so it’s not like you’re selling loans,” he says.

“The challenge is if brokers are thinking, ‘I’m going to be too pushy trying to sell another product’. I think [in this case] their mindset is all wrong – they should be thinking, ‘How do I sell myself better? How do I become a trusted adviser?’”

According to Mr Mathlin, brokers aiming to diversify into new product areas should be focused on selling themselves, their services and their company.

Once that’s clear, brokers will be in a better position to discuss alternative options, including debtor finance.

In this sense, it’s all about preparation and clarity. Brokers are more likely to be successful at diversifying if they plan ahead and look at the bigger picture.

“We’ve all seen impromptu speeches at 21st birthdays and weddings,” says Mr Mathlin. “More often than not, they don’t work. The same goes when you’re in selling mode. The surprise cross sell never works.”

Even though many brokers are great talkers and have a wealth of knowledge about financial services, says Mr Mathlin, clients are savvy and are likely to cotton on if the broker is unprepared.

“Most people can’t wing these things,” he says. “If they don’t know what they’re talking about, their body language is going to be poor. They are going to stumble and stutter over what they are trying to communicate.

“They won’t have the structure they need to instil confidence in the buyer or client that they know what they’re talking about. And if there’s any doubt, it won’t work.”

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

Debtor finance isn’t an area with which many brokers are familiar, but according to those in the know, the products and processes are quite simple, as well as highly effective

GOOD CASH flow is a cornerstone of successful businesses, particularly those that are experiencing growth.

Yet despite some business owners’ best efforts, maintaining a strong cash flow position can be difficult.

One factor, which can be frustrating and is often completely out of a business’ control, is waiting for invoices to be paid. Growing businesses often wait for this cash injection to pay their bills, make an equipment purchase or stay on top of their expenses.

So, how can businesses overcome this problem and remain liquid without taking on unsustainable debt?

DEBTOR FINANCE PRODUCTS

Debtor finance, sometimes known as invoice discounting, factoring, cash flow finance and working capital finance, is one solution to which businesses are increasingly turning.

“Essentially, we’re lending money to businesses against their outstanding invoices,” says Peter Toohey, general manger for FactorONE.

“As a client raises invoices, they assign those invoices to us and we advance them typically 80 per cent of that value.

“In essence, it’s a line of credit secured by their invoices. So if the business grows, so does the amount they can borrow.”

According to Mr Toohey, a key component of debtor finance is that no real estate security is required. This can help people who want to keep their residential mortgage and business operations separate, or those who don’t want to alter their current debt arrangement with their lender.

Neil Tunstall, managing director of Thane Financial, says debtor finance products have some significant advantages over traditionally structured overdraft facilities

“Some businesses will find that using an overdraft facility that is secured by real estate won’t work for them because that property may well not be sufficient to secure the level of growth that the business is seeking or experiencing,” Mr Tunstall says.

“Instead, the business may well have receivables which are growing at a rate that becomes a real drag on the business because it takes up cash flow.”

This, according to Mr Tunstall, is where debtor finance comes in. “Debtor finance is all about unlocking and utilising the available funds that businesses can make out of their receivables to fund the business’ needs and fund the business’ growth,” he says.

Mr Tunstall says overdraft facilities can offer solutions, but they can also become problematic.

“One of the great problems with overdrafts, particularly with growing businesses, is that there is a capacity for that overdraft to effectively become stuck and what I call ‘hard core’,” he explains.

“Take, for example, a business with an overdraft of $400,000. That overdraft may never get below a level of $350,000. So their growing business is operating on only the $50,000. That means they’re probably stringing out their creditors. They’re probably going to develop a tax problem.

“What you can do with debtor finance is unlock some of the cash and use that to pay down some of the debt, or you can free up working capital to look after creditors and expenses and also make sure that we effectively keep the tax man happy.”

TRADELINE

In October 2012, Scottish Pacific introduced Tradeline – an import line of credit.

The product can improve the purchasing power of businesses in global markets. It can be used to import goods for re-sale, supplement existing trade facilities or assist with the acquisition of imported plant and trade equipment.

Craig Michie, head of trade finance at Scottish Pacific, says the product is extremely flexible.

“It’s up to a 90-day term. It’s effectively unsecured, so we’re not asking mum and dad for a mortgage over their house,” he explains.

This flexibility, according to Mr Michie, means existing lending arrangements can be left alone if need be.

“For example, a company may have a relationship with a bank,” he explains. “They might have a house which secures a little bit of a mortgage, with a little bit of an overdraft and a little bit of trade finance. But quite often, in the peak periods, it may not be sufficient to meet their peak demands.

“Because we don’t interrupt the securities that the bank has already got in place, Tradeline can be used to supplement existing facilities and be put in place quickly and easily without interrupting or distributing existing bank relationships or securities.

“That adds flexibility and usability to the product and it takes weeks off the approval and implementation of a limit that can be used to meet demand.”

Mr Michie says Scottish Pacific’s trade finance strategy clearly acknowledges the changes in our economy over the past 20 years.

“A lot of SMEs [small- to medium-sized enterprises] weren’t jumping on planes and sourcing their products in China or Vietnam or wherever 20 years ago,” he says. “SMEs were either manufacturing products themselves or buying off other larger manufactures or importers. Twenty-odd years ago, a majority of importers were very large organisations.

“So, along with the changes in our economy, we’ve had change in the type of working capital product that our SME target market requires. We needed to develop some solutions that combine with our debtor finance solutions to offer a more comprehensive solution in terms of businesses’ working capital requirements.”

Mr Michie adds that brokers need not understand all the complexities of the global import and export market and the variables involved in the invoicing. Instead, by having a basic understanding of the issues these businesses may face, they are better positioned to be able to introduce them to the appropriate debtor finance or line of credit provider.

SCOTTISH PACIFIC
If you are looking to introduce clients to this type of product, according to Paul Lambess, owner of CVG Finance, you need look no further than Scottish Pacific.

“They understand brokers,” he says. “They’re one of the best lenders out there to deal with. They’re not a major bank and this is all that they do, and that’s a key thing. They’ve got a great product and service, but this sector is all they focus on. So I think they deliver a superior product to the market because that’s their focus.”

Daryl Groves, director of Matrix Finance Group, agrees and says there are many reasons for the success of his relationship with Scottish Pacific.

“They’ve got good, strong systems,” Mr Groves says. “They’ve been consistent in their approach; they survived the GFC; they’ve got good people working there; and we’ve had no issues or major complaints from our customers about their back-end support, which is important with debtor finance.”

Scottish Pacific’s Wayne Smith says the company, which is celebrating 25 years in business, is the largest non-bank provider of debtor finance facilities in Australia and New Zealand, with 800 clients with combined sales of $4 billion.

Q&A WITH PAUL LAMBESS

Paul Lambess, owner and finance broker at CVG Finance, is heavily involved in commercial broking and debtor finance. He talks to The Adviser about the opportunities and the rewards

WHAT INVOLVEMENT DO YOU HAVE WITH DEBTOR FINANCE?
We specialise and focus on that area. We call ourselves a commercial finance brokerage, but within that we try and target debtor finance as much as we can.

HOW DO YOU FIND THIS TYPE OF CLIENT?
Obviously, through existing clients and asking them for the referrals. Understanding the market a little bit helps as well – so knowing which businesses would typically have a cash flow problem and knowing to ask the right questions when you’re speaking to a client or speaking to a referrer.

WHAT IS THE TYPICAL PROFILE OF SOMEONE WHO NEEDS DEBTOR FINANCE?
They’re waiting for payments to be made – their debtors are slow payers. You ask these people, ‘Are you having a cash flow problem? Are you waiting for your payments longer and longer?’ And they say ‘yes’.

People who need debtor finance can also try to use an overdraft, but that can max out according to the property’s value, whereas debtor finance will release it without any property security.

Another question we ask is, ‘Are you trying to increase your overdraft but the bank won’t let you? Or you’re maxed out, but you still need cash flow assistance?’

AS A BROKER, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CATERING TO THIS MARKET SEGMENT?
Firstly, not a lot of brokers focus on it, so it is a bit of a niche. It also helps you build deeper relationships with clients.

Only two major banks have a debtor finance product so for people with the major banks, a lot of them can’t actually get this facility through their existing lender. So it’s a good opportunity to provide a solution for these clients without disrupting the existing bank relationship.

IS IT DIFFICULT FOR BROKERS ACTIVE IN THE COMMERCIAL SPACE TO MOVE INTO DEBTOR FINANCE?
It’s more about understanding your client than understanding the exact product. You really have to understand and get a lot more involved in understanding the business cash flow cycles, the debt turn – things like that.

If brokers really want to get involved with really understanding their client or get involved in the business, that’s where it definitely pays to offer debtor finance.

WHAT MADE YOU GET INTO THIS SPACE?
I think firstly we were presented with the need from clients. We sort of fell into it I suppose. But then I realised that as a broker, there wasn’t a lot of competition. There were also a lot of clients, and even some referrers, who weren’t actually aware of it.

So it gave me a level of expertise or knowledge that I was able to pass on to clients and referrers that they hadn’t heard about previously.

If you go and talk to someone about a home loan – well, everyone knows what a home loan is. The same goes for a commercial property loan or an overdraft. But going in and speaking about debtor finance and the dozen or more funders that do it, you get clients’ interest and there’s a bit of expertise and knowledge that you can pass on to gain their trust. You can offer them a solution that’s really valid for them.

WHY DO YOU WORK WITH SCOTTISH PACIFIC?
They understand brokers. They’re one of the best lenders out there to deal with. They’re not a major bank and this is all that they do and that’s a key thing. They’ve got a great product and service, but this sector is all they focus on. So I think they deliver a superior product to the market because that’s their focus. They’ve been doing it for a long time.

THE BIGGER PICTURE
Debtor finance can help brokers expand their commercial client base and is a good fit for those looking at the bigger financing picture
SOME BROKERS, it seems, are weary of the industry’s fascination with diversification. Yet when it comes to debtor finance, brokers don’t actually need to change their business model to reap the benefits and expand their offering to clients.

According to Wayne Smith, Scottish Pacific’s general manager for Queensland, brokers can be as involved in the transaction as they like.
When you factor in debtor finance’s close connection to business and commercial finance, it’s not hard to see how debtor finance fits into the bigger picture of mortgage and finance broking.

COMMERCIAL CONNECTION
Obviously, not every client who has a commercial loan will need debtor finance – and not every business needing debtor finance will have a commercial property loan – but the two are often linked.

“Debtor finance is a great option for brokers who have commercial and business customers,” says Mr Smith. “It’s something else for them to offer.”

Paul Lambess, who was a specialist commercial broker, says he fell into debtor finance because he saw a need in his commercial clients.

“I’m also based in Newcastle in New South Wales where there is a lot of activity around the mines,” says Mr Lambess. “There are a lot of notoriously slow payments in the mining industry – so debtor finance really fitted in well with the bigger picture of what I was doing and where I was operating.”

INTEGRATION AND GROWTH

“People talk about diversification and some brokers get a misconception that they have to all of a sudden become the jack of all trades,” says Ballast’s CEO, Frank Paratore. “That is not actually the case.”

Mr Paratore says brokers are in a unique position to cater to more of their clients’ financial needs, including debtor finance.

“Brokers are the ones who are going through a customer’s full financial position; they’re the ones looking at a customer’s assets and liabilities position.

“From there, an astute broker should be able to have a look, understand and think about insurance, super and a customer’s full options.

“That’s not to say that the broker has to be able to do everything and anything, but they need to be asking the right sorts of questions,” he says.

“I actually think it’s the obligation of the broker these days to make sure they dig a little bit deeper – rather than being transaction-based, they’ve got to be relationship-based.”

SCOPE OF OPPORTUNITY

Scott Smith, director of Cairns Finance, says businesses of any size may require debtor finance at some point, so brokers who cater to several markets should be able to integrate debtor finance into their service offering and grow their business.

Mr Paratore adds that it’s not about offering every service to every client. Instead, it’s about asking your clients the right questions and determining what works for them.

Those who ignore a particular need in a client are simply leaving “money on the table”, according to Mr Paratore.

In the case of debtor finance, you shouldn’t encounter any major financial obstacles when integrating the offering into your business.

“There are half a dozen different ways brokers can introduce different areas of financial services into their business without [it] costing them a cent, without any risk, without them really having to do anything too differently,” says Mr Paratore.

In order to succeed in debtor finance, and indeed in the wider financial services arena, brokers need to understand their value and their place in the ‘bigger picture’ of finance.

“Brokers need to view themselves as financial services professionals. All you need to do is identify the opportunity,” he says.

Debtor finance
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