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Young Broker of the Year 2014

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John Bastick 15 minute read

Broking needs young blood, and the good news is it's out there - meet some of the industry's brightest hopefuls in The Adviser's Young Broker of the Year 2014

 

Young broker of the year

Broking needs young blood, and the good news is it's out there - meet some of the industry's brightest hopefuls in The Adviser's Young Broker of the Year 2014.

A word from our partner: Aaron Milburn, head of third-party distribution, Citi Australia

The third-party distribution channel continues to go from strength to strength. MFAA research shows that mortgage brokers are responsible for approximately five out of 10 mortgages written. So the need to have new, young talent enter our vibrant industry is apparent. As The Adviser's Young Broker of the Year ranking shows, the industry does have fantastic examples of high-achieving, young brokers who are incredibly passionate about the industry, their careers and helping everyday Australians achieve their dream of home ownership.

Given these talented new members are the future custodians of our industry, we collectively need to get behind them and support, guide and celebrate the achievements of this group. With over 75 per cent of our mortgage volume coming from brokers, Citi is committed to the ongoing excellence of this channel and, as such, is pleased to partner with The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year to bring you this ranking. Since the inaugural ranking three years ago, we have had the pleasure of witnessing the award alumni go on to surpass their own goals and aspirations.

I implore you to reach out to all young brokers and share your experience and wisdom. Together by sharing and working together we will build a stronger industry from which we all benefit. Congratulations to all of the brokers who make up this year’s ranking. You should all be very proud of your achievements, and I look forward to working with you all in helping grow your business for the future.

Jump to the full list

The new generation

If there's one industry topic that appears to paralyse the third-party channel it has to be around recruitment – finding, training and retaining a new generation of brokers.

And as we know, the life of a new broker's not always an enviable one – long hours, poor remuneration and an unacceptable drop-out rate.

This leads us to The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year rankings for 2014. Thirty top brokers - all aged under 30 - who are writing big volumes that clearly debunk this idea that there’s a dearth of new talent in the industry, and that the newbies currently in the industry are struggling to make a buck.

Again, to prove that arguably the past 12 months have been like no other for the broker channel, this year’s top 30 youngsters wrote $1.94 billion in home loans, which was a 26.6 per cent increase from the previous year. Between them that represented some 5,020 of loans at an average loan size of $386,595.

Another refreshing finding to come out of compiling this year’s results was how much each entrant appeared to enjoy working as a broker – enjoyment in the job, enjoyment in helping customers achieve their property dreams were all constant themes.

Proving maybe it’s not your age but your happiness levels that that’s the secret to broking success!

Methodology

The Adviser received over 120 applications to this year’s Young Broker of the Year rankings. To be eligible a broker had to be aged 30 or under as of 1 July 2014.
Brokers could nominate themselves or be nominated by a colleague. To ensure transparency, brokers’ submissions were checked against a third party for validation – primarily an aggregator, BDM or state manager.

As in years past, this year’s rankings were also weighted to uncover the final 30. A broker’s residential volumes, actual home loans written and “other volumes” (commercial, vehicle and equipment finance, insurances etc) were all considered.

The broker was ranked from one to 120. That position was then weighted, with 40 per cent for residential volumes, 40 per cent for actual loans written and 20 per cent for “other volumes”.

Therefore, a broker who, say, ranked 12th for residential volumes, 8th for loans written and 20th for “other” would have received a score thus: 12 x 0.40 (4.8), 8 x 0.40 (3.2), 20 x 0.2 (4), giving an overall score of 12 (that being 4.8 + 3.2 + 4). The broker with the lowest score at the end of the day awarded the top spot on the rankings.

So without further ado, a huge congratulations to all those who submitted an entry this year and particularly to our final 30 who’ve made this year’s rankings.

And the winners are...

Top 30 brokers
Top 30 brokers
  • 30: David Leotta
    Aussie, Newtown, NSW
    Age: 27
    Total residential volumes: $36,377,000
    Number of deals: 75
    Total volume other loans: $0
    This young franchisee is smack in the hottest part of Australia’s hottest market – inner-west Sydney. He ranks first home buyers as his biggest market segment and believes his age helps him better relate to younger buyers and the challenges they face.

  • 29: Martin Lam
    Australian Credit and Finance, Sydney, NSW
    Age: 27
    Total residential volumes: $27,300,000
    Number of deals: 57
    Total volume other loans: $4,900,000
    This former management consultant has been a broker for just on 18 months, writing 57 loans over the past year at an average loan size of $478,947.
    Mr Lam says he enjoys helping clients with “something that is simple but not very well understood”.

  • 28: Chris Hazell
    Bespoke Finance, Perth, WA
    Age: 28
    Total residential volumes: $34,205,264
    Number of deals: 90
    Total volume other loans: $506,000
    Hailing from a background in accountancy, this four-year industry vet says he enjoys the industry for its “flexibility of hours, running your own business, lifestyle, client satisfaction and happiness”. He ranks FHBs as his biggest market segment.

  • 27: Daniel O’Reilly
    MO’R Mortgage Options, Turner, ACT
    Age: 30
    Total residential volumes: $30,873,090
    Number of deals: 115
    Total volume other loans: $0
    One of two brothers in this year’s rankings, the older of the O’Reilly siblings managed an average loan volume of $268,461. He ranks second home buyers and upgraders as his biggest market segment and estate agents his chief referrer.

  • 26: Pamela Peato
    U Property Australia, Sydney, NSW
    Age: 23
    Total residential volumes: $40,587,000
    Number of deals: 99
    Total volume other loans: $0
    At the tender age of just 23, Ms Peato is the equal-youngest broker on this year’s rankings. A broker for a mere 12 months, this former personal trainer boasted an average loan size of $409,969 and investors constituted her biggest client base.

  • 25: Loren Adams
    Smartmove, Neutral Bay, NSW
    Age: 24
    Total residential volumes: $41,517,734
    Number of deals: 92
    Total volume other loans: $62,500
    With a background in bookkeeping, Ms Adams is making her mark at one of Sydney’s top brokerages – Smartmove. She cites FHBs as her biggest customer segment and says she enjoys taking the stress out of the mortgage process for her customers.

  • 24: Griffin Czipri
    eChoice, Sydney, NSW
    Age: 26
    Total residential volumes: $41,373,536
    Number of deals: 113
    Total volume other loans: $0
    With four years’ broking experience under his belt, Mr Czipri’s ‘turf’ is Sydney’s western suburbs. Upgraders are his biggest client base and he says his secret is to “getting to know clients on a personal level and gain the understanding of what they’re looking to achieve”.

  • 23: Jason Pogorelec
    Inovayt, Melbourne, Victoria
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $37,000,000
    Number of deals: 116
    Total volume other loans: $0
    A broker since the age of 22, Mr Pogorelec’s success has come from tapping into the white-hot investor market. Writing 116 loans in the past 12 months at an average of $318,965, he says “ensuring a smooth transaction translates to referrals and repeat business”.

  • 22: Brendan O’Reilly
    MO’R Mortgage Options, Turner, ACT
    Age: 27
    Total residential volumes: $36,544,842
    Number of deals: 139
    Total volume other loans: $0
    The younger of the O’Reilly siblings to make this year’s rankings (brother Daniel polled at 27), Mr O’Reilly’s been a broker since leaving school nine years ago. His brother may play in the upgraders’ space, but for Brendan his core is ACT’s investor market.

  • 21: Darren Liu
    LMW Wholesale Finance, North Rocks, NSW
    Age: 28
    Total residential volumes: $42,039,992
    Number of deals: 125
    Total volume other loans: $0
    Situated in Sydney’s booming north west belt, Mr Liu wrote 125 loans in the previous year at an average of $336,319. “I enjoy running my own business; full control of doing what you like… [and] helping people with the biggest decision of their life,” he says of the job.

  • 20: Brendon Marshman
    Opal Finance Australia, Perth, WA
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $48,000,000
    Number of deals: 118
    Total volume other loans: $0
    With four years’ experience under his belt, Mr Marshman writes nothing but home loans at an average loan size of $406,779. He says upgraders are his biggest customer segment and existing clients his biggest referrer.

  • 19: Theo Jansen
    Mortgage Choice Melbourne, Victoria
    Age: 26
    Total residential volumes: $41,820,000
    Number of deals: 116
    Total volume other loans: $1,775,000
    Yet another ‘young gun’ that seems to pop out of the Mortgage Choice system with regular monotony. Mr Jansen says of his two-year broking career: “I love that every loan is different, how each experience with each client is different yet challenging in its own way.”

  • 18: Joel Wyld
    Oxygen Home Loans, Sydney, NSW
    Age: 28
    Total residential volumes: $50,064,255
    Number of deals: 94
    Total volume other loans: $1,870,000
    A product of the famed McGrath/Oxygen stable, Mr Wyld wrote close to two loans a week on average last year at a very credible $532,598 each. He cites investors as his biggest customer segment and, unsurprisingly, real estate agents his biggest referrers.

  • 17: Benjamin Passfield
    Mortgage Choice Indooroopilly, Queensland
    Age: 26
    Total residential volumes: $44,525,913
    Number of deals: 146
    Total volume other loans: $64,913
    Mr Passfield abandoned his previous working life as a carpenter and is now two years into his broking career. He claims not to use social media in his marketing strategies and say Brisbane’s investors are his core market segment.

  • 16: Timothy Cece
    Search Mortgages, Unley, SA
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $41,132,417
    Number of deals: 178
    Total volume other loans: $0
    This ex-bank employee shifted to broking in 2009 and hasn’t looked back. He says upgraders are his biggest customer segment, real estate agents his best referrers, and flexibility is the best thing about working as a broker.

  • 15: Karli Martin
    Mortgage Choice, Brisbane City, Qld
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $44,000,000
    Number of deals: 211
    Total volume other loans: $40,000
    Whatever’s going on at Mortgage Choice Brisbane City it’s clearly working. Ms Martin is the first of three staffers in this year’s rankings! A broker since 21, she wrote a staggering 211 loans in 2013/2014 worth some $44 million, and helped along by referrals from buyer’s agents.

  • 14: Josh Gilbert
    Loan Market, St Kilda, Victoria
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $48,329,928
    Number of deals: 121
    Total volume other loans: $6,275,000
    "Ultimately i love having a career where I can guide clients along the journey of achieving their financial goals" Mr Gilbert says."Whether the client is buying their first home, building their first home, building their dream or adding to their investment portfolio."

  • 13: Li Zhu
    Mortgage Choice Brisbane City, Qld
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $63,695,263
    Number of deals: 130
    Total volume other loans: $760,000
    Yet another broker from the acclaimed Mortgage Choice Brisbane City, coincidentally Mr Zhu manages to hang on to the exact same spot he claimed in 2013. He’s been a broker for 2.5 years, says investors are his biggest customer segment, and estate agents his prime referrer.

  • 12: Theo Chambers
    Shore Financial, North Sydney, NSW
    Age: 26
    Total residential volumes: $107,631,748
    Number of deals: 123
    Total volume other loans: $0
    A broker since he was 21, Mr Chambers moved up four places on his 2013 ranking. He wrote 23 extra loans year-on-year, an extra $47,152,131 in volumes of residential loans, all at an average loan size of an incredibly impressive $875,054.

  • 11: Keith Caine
    Mortgage Choice Glenelg East, SA
    Age: 30
    Total residential volumes: $61,443,250
    Number of deals: 235
    Total volume other loans: $925,000
    Another broker from this super-impressive Adelaide brokerage, Mr Caine lists FHBs as his core customer segment and wrote 235 loans last year at an average of $261,460.He says he's a strong fan of social media as a marketing tool, and Facebook his medium of choice.

  • 10: Fab Mastro
    Mortgage Choice Whittlesea, Victoria
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $58,579,056
    Number of deals: 153
    Total volume other loans: $8,012,488
    Mr Mastro rises eight spots from 2013, writing an extra 30 loans, an extra $17,074,269 in volumes year on year, at an average of $382,869. Investors were the biggest part of his customer base and financial planners his best referrers.

  • 09: Hoa Hong
    Home Loan Experts, Burwood, NSW
    Age: 30
    Total residential volumes: $71,232,000
    Number of deals: 155
    Total volume other loans: $3,950,000
    Another broker from this progressive inner-west brokerage in Sydney, Mr Hong wrote 43 extra loans compared to his 2013 tally of 112. That translated to an extra $20,535,664 in volumes at an average loan size of $459,561. Upgraders were his biggest customer base.

  • 08: Amie Tennant
    Future Finance Group, Frankston, VIC
    Age: 26
    Total residential volumes: $68,000,000
    Number of deals: 165
    Total volume other loans: $6,200,000
    Ms Tennant wrote a staggering $30 million extra home loans from the previous year, propelling her up 14 spots on the Young Broker list. “I love helping clients achieve their dream of buying a property and helping them pay if off before they thought they could,” she says of her broking career.

  • 07: George Samios
    My Address Finance, Seven Hills, Qld
    Age: 25
    Total residential volumes: $85,960,228
    Number of deals: 173
    Total volume other loans: $4,933,000
    This former real estate agent switched to broking two-and-a-half years ago and hasn’t looked back. Volumes were up year-on-year by $24.2 million, taking his average loan size to just shy of half-a-million. Mr Samios rates investors his biggest customer segment and accountants his best referrers.

  • 06: James Chatfield
    Chatfield Consulting, Wembley, WA
    Age: 27
    Total residential volumes: $130,790,433
    Number of deals: 295 
    Total volume other loans: $0
    Last year’s top placed broker on the Young Broker rankings may have slipped five spots and that’s despite writing $42,530,616 extra in residential loans year-on-year. A broker for just four years and with his own independent agency, his average loan size is now $443,357.

  • 05: Mark Polatkesen
    Loan Gallery Melbourne, VIC
    Age: 30
    Total residential volumes: $82,339,083
    Number of deals: 269
    Total volume other loans: $2,780,000
    Our longest serving broker on this year’s list, Mr Polatkesen has been broking for 11 years. In the past 12 months he wrote a very credible 269 loans at an average of $306,093. FHBs are his biggest customer segment and builders/developers constitute his best referrers.

  • 04: Leteisha Pileggi
    Mortgage Choice Cannington, WA
    Age: 30
    Total residential volumes: $84,063,241
    Number of deals: 319
    Total volume other loans:
    This young broker from Perth continues to make waves and scores the top ranking for a female on this year’s list. A broker for just five years she says she loves the industry “for its flexible work hours, social nature, meeting new people and helping [them] through the process”.

  • 03: Ao Tang
    Alliance Mortgage Solutions, Sydney, NSW
    Age: 29
    Total residential volumes: $162,513,959
    Number of deals: 264
    Total volume other loans: $1,500,000
    One of two young brokers on this year’s list from Sydney’s Alliance Mortgage Solutions who specialise in the lucrative Asian market. Mr Tang’s been a broker for a mere two years and wrote 264 mortgages last year at an average of $615,583.

  • 02: Matt Cunliffe
    Mortgage Choice Brisbane, Qld
    Age: 28
    Total residential volumes: $86,212,808
    Number of deals: 262
    Total volume other loans: $72,946,415
    One of Brisbane’s top performers all at the ripe age of just 28. Interestingly, Mr Cunliffe actually wrote 35 loans less from the previous year while his total volumes increased just $4.2 million. He says his first ever job was working as a bank teller.

  • Eric Cui
    Total residential volumes: $191,559,799
    Number of deals: 381
    Total volume other loans: $1,200,000

    Nineteenth in 2013, Mr Cui flies into top spot on the back of some astonishing volumes. A broker a mere 3.5 years, last year he wrote $191.5 million in resi loans at an average of $502,781. Mr Cui’s chief clients are Chinese-Australian upgraders centred around the Eastwood-Epping areas of NW Sydney.

 

Q&A with our winner

Alliance Mortgage Solutions’ Eric Cui was the clear winner of 2014’s Young Broker of the Year. Here, he reveals the secrets to his astonishing success over the year...

Firstly, congratulations on being The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year. It’s been a great 12 months for you, writing close to $200 million in mortgages this year alone. What do you put your success down to?

I think it’s due to the team we’ve built here at Alliance. We’ve worked hard to build a great marketing team, admin support, and that just gives me so much more time to work on what I do and that’s selling mortgages. We also have a great referral program that gives the brokers here strong leads, and that makes things much easier too.

You target the Chinese market. Is that overseas investors or locals?

Actually, my main customer segment is the Asian market that lives in Australia, have immigrated to Australia. Overseas investors – those who buy off-the-plan properties – they probably represent about 30 per cent of what I do. Yes, we have a good referral network from agents from China and I get a lot of overseas clients that way.

How much would you attribute your success to the hotness of the market right now?

Yes, rates are low and I also think the rental market is quite high, which is attracting investors – the rental returns are much higher than the interest rates. The market is very good for investors, you’ve got a 20 per cent deposit and you are receiving a positive cash return. If you can afford an investment property, the tax deductions you get in Australia also make it a very worthwhile investment too – all that has made the market very hot over the past financial year. And it’s not just overseas investors but also the second-hand property market in the areas I cover like Epping and Eastwood. I work very closely and have a very good relationship with the local McGrath Real Estate there.

There’s a lot of industry talk of young people not being interested in a career in broking. What would you say to that?

I don’t really know. At Alliance most of the consultants are around the age of 30. I think the younger you are in this industry the more energy you have. If you’ve been a broker for a long time you probably have a large loan book to sit on and you don’t need the motivation, but that’s not the case if you’re young and just starting out. I think younger brokers are more motivated, they want to do things better and I would encourage anyone thinking about becoming a broker to give it a go. That said, you need to find someone (with experience) to really mentor you and give you the professional development that’s needed to succeed.

Are there any drawbacks to being a younger broker, eg. difficulty relating to older clients?

When I first started out I probably felt that was the case, that older clients wanted a more experienced broker. But as you get more experience, the more professional knowledge you have, it becomes less of a problem.

You’ve set some big results over 2013/2014. Can they be replicated and bettered over the coming 12 months, particularly in a cooling market?

I think it’s true to say all the talk is that rates will probably increase. But that’s not a problem for us, a lot of our clients have bought off the plan and don’t need to settle for another one or two years, plus you’ll always have the upgraders. The thing [that’s great about the industry] now, is the amount of competition from banks who want brokers’ business. Even if rates rise I think lenders will still have good product, they’ll continue to fight for business and so as long as that competition remains we’ve got the opportunity for customers to refinance. 

 
RankNameCompanyAgeTotal residential loans 2013-14Average loan sizeNo. of mortgages writtenTotal other loans
1 Eric Cui Alliance Mortgage Solutions, Sydney, NSW 30 $191,559,799 $502,781 381 $1,200,000
2 Matt Cunliffe Mortgage Choice Brisbane, Qld 28 $86,212,808 $329,056 262 $72,946,415
3 Ao Tang Alliance Mortgage Solutions, Sydney, NSW 29 $162,513,959 $615,583 264 $1,500,000
4 Leteisha Pileggi Mortgage Choice Cannington, WA 30 $84,063,241 $320,852 262 $1,580,000
5 Mark Polatkesen Loan Gallery Melbourne, Victoria 30 $82,339,083 $306,093 269 $2,780,000
6 James Chatfield Chatfield Consulting, Wembley, WA 27 $130,790,433 $443,357 295 $0
7 George Samios My Address Finance, Seven Hills, Qld 25 $85,960,228 $496,879 173 $4,933,000
8 Amie Tennant Future Finance Group, Frankston, Victoria 26 $68,000,000 $412,121 165 $6,200,000
9 Hoa Hong Home Loan Experts, Burwood, NSW 30 $71,232,000 $459,561 155 $3,950,000
10 Fab Mastro Mortgage Choice Whittlesea, Victoria 29 $58,579,056 $382,869 153 $8,012,488
11 Keith Caine Mortgage Choice Glenelg East, SA 30 $61,443,250 $261,460 235 $925,000
12 Theo Chambers Shore Financial, North Sydney, NSW 26 $107,631,748 $875,054 123 $0
13 Li Zhu Mortgage Choice Brisbane City, Qld 25 $63,695,263 $489.96 130 $760,000
14 Josh Gilbert Loan Market, St Kilda, Victoria 29 $48,329,928 $399,420 121 $6,275,000
15 Karli Martin Mortgage Choice, Brisbane City, Qld 23 $44,000,000 $208,530 211 $40,000
16 Timothy Cece Search Mortgages, Unley, SA 29 $41,132,417 $231,080 178 $0
17 Benjamin Passfield Mortgage Choice Indooroopilly, Queensland 26 $44,525,913 $304,972 146 $64,913
18 Joel Wyld Oxygen Home Loans, Sydney, NSW 28 $50,064,255 $532,598 94 $1,870,000
19 Theo Jansen Mortgage Choice Melbourne, Victoria 26 $41,820,000 $360,517 116 $1,775,000
20 Brendon Marshman Opal Finance Australia, Perth, WA 29 $48,000,000 $406,779 118 $0
21 Darren Liu LMW Wholesale Finance, North Rocks, NSW 28 $42,039,992 $336,319 125 $0
22 Brendan O’Reilly M’OR Mortgage Options, Turner, ACT 27 $36,544,842 $262,912 139 $0
23 Jason Pogorelec Inovayt, Melbourne, Victoria 29 $37,000,000 $318,965 116 $0
24 Griffin Czipri eChoice, Sydney, NSW 26 $41,373,536 $366,137 113 $0
25 Loren Adams Smartmove, Neutral Bay, NSW 24 $41,517,734 $451,279 92 $62,500
26 Pamela Peato U Property Australia, Sydney, NSW 23 $40,587,000 $409,969 99 $0
27 Daniel O’Reilly M’OR Mortgage Options, Turner, ACT 30 $30,873,090 $268,461 115 $0
28 Chris Hazell Bespoke Finance, Perth, WA 28 $34,205,264 $380,058 90 $506,000
29 Martin Lam Australian Credit and Finance, Sydney, NSW 27 $27,300,000 $478,947 57 $4,900,000
30 David Leotta Aussie Newtown, NSW 27 $36,377,000 $485,026 75 $0
 
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