TO BE the best, you have to beat the best – but how do you know who that is?
Each year, The Adviser presents Australia’s Top 25 Brokerages based on five core categories – broker productivity, volumes, number of deals, business growth and loan book size.
Year after year, the brokerages that make the cut prove that they’re well equipped across all aspects of the business and are excelling far above their peers.
This is evident in the figures that show us that in the 2015 financial year, The Adviser’s Top 25 Brokerages kept 2,653 brokers in business, servicing a total of 153,670 home loan customers.
They share a combined book value of almost $190 billion, up 7.57 per cent from last year.
Each group’s broker productivity is impressive, with the average loan writer bringing in just over $20 million in the 2015 financial year alone – an increase of almost 10 per cent on last year.
Combined volumes are also up by 13.22 per cent on last year, with the Top 25 Brokerages representing a whopping $53,210,807,089 turnover.
Despite all this, loans per broker are actually down by 2.03 per cent on last year’s figures, which could be an indication of broker-on-broker competition heating up as a result of increasing market share.
This year’s ranking sees five new entrants. The 20 others who are making a return appearance have continued to improve across several metrics.
Needless to say, this year’s Top 25 Brokerages house an elite group of individuals – and collectively they represent some of the strongest and toughest businesses in the country. Together, they embody what is pivotal in the mortgage industry – a tenacity to succeed and a drive to go above and beyond for the customer.
So without any further ado, The Adviser presents Australia’s Top 25 Brokerages.
- The ranking is based on figures from the 2015 financial year.
- More than 70 brokerages from across the country entered themselves in this year’s report.
- Each brokerage was asked to provide several business metrics from 2015 – volumes, number of loans written, overall book size, staff numbers, years in business, prime lender and more.
- The information published is based solely on what was provided by the brokerages and has not been manipulated in any way by The Adviser. All figures were verified by that broker’s aggregator, where relevant.
How the ranking was scored
- The final ranking was determined by scores in 5 key areas.
- These areas were: total book size, total loans settled in 2015, total volume of loans settled in 2015, book size versus years in business, and average broker volumes for 2015 (i.e. volume numbers divided by actual number of brokers).
- Each of the 70-plus brokerages that entered were given a ranking score in each category from 1 to 70 (1 being the best).
- The 5 scores were then added to give a final overall score. The lower the score, the better the ranking.
A WORD FROM NAB BROKER
Partner of the Top 25 Brokerages
TO BUILD a top brokerage, brokers need to be hard-working, dedicated and committed to delivering the best financial outcomes to customers.
Top brokers are efficient, effective, professional and personable. They understand that broking is more than a series of deals – it is about developing strong, long-term relationships with customers, referrers, lenders and aggregators.
The qualities that make a top brokerage don’t change, but each year the lending environment evolves and top brokers stand out by staying on top of industry trends and providing expert advice to customers on how regulatory shifts may impact them.
As a lender, we are committed to supporting brokers in creating top brokerages. We are listening to broker feedback and adapting our offering across the residential, commercial, small business and asset finance spaces to ensure we deliver the best products for all brokers, and reflect our commitment to support brokers for life.
On behalf of NAB Broker, I would like to congratulate all of the outstanding brokerages featured throughout the next few pages on your achievements.
Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers’ managing director, Chris Acret, reveals how the group consistently reinvents the wheel despite having been in business for 17 years
Q. What is Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers doing to get a leg up on the competition?
Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers’ key point of difference is its outstanding personal service and expert advice delivered by highly trained and professional advisers using our specialist broker software. This is reflected in an average client review rating of 9.8/10.
To maintain this, Smartline invests significantly in its people.
This includes an industry-leading adviser training and support program to enable them to deliver outstanding service and build successful businesses.
The program includes professional development days, peer information sharing sessions, technical training bootcamps, a national webinar program, a national conference for all advisers and a leaders’ forum for top performers.
Additionally, Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers has a rigorous selection and testing process for new brokers underpinned by an intensive first-year professional development program which includes an induction training course, an experienced Smartline Adviser mentor, a first 90-days program and a 12-month business coaching program provided by an independently accredited business coach.
Q. Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers has been in business for 17 years now. As a franchise, how important would you say it is to constantly ‘reinvent the wheel’ and adapt to industry disruptions such as technology?
Adapting to change is critical for every franchise group. While our core focus on delivering client service and building a highly successful franchise team has remained constant since we started, the method of delivering on these commitments is constantly changing and evolving.
Smartline has invested heavily in technology from day one, with our own system built for us, by us. This gives us the ability to have very short lead times between identifying a requirement and rolling it out to our franchise network.
Q. Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers is nationally based. How is this effectively managed?
Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers’ head office is in Sydney.
In addition, there are five state offices – Victoria (also covering Tasmania), Queensland, WA and South Australia (also covering NT). Each state office has a state manager and state franchise development manager.
Group office provides operational support to advisers across a range of key areas, including lending, IT, onboarding and marketing. There is also a compliance function managing regulatory requirements.
Group office staff work closely with the state managers and franchise development managers to manage the adviser training and support program, resolve any adviser issues and provide general assistance.
Mortgage Choice CEO John Flavell shares how his group is attracting brokers to better meet the needs of clients – and building substantial brand awareness as a result
Q. Over 12 months, Mortgage Choice has managed to grow both its broker and staff numbers. What do you think makes the Mortgage Choice proposition so attractive to newcomers?
At Mortgage Choice, we not only offer our existing and new brokers significant support across all the key areas of their business (including IT, compliance, marketing, public relations etc.), but we also offer a branded presence and national footprint.
Our branded presence helps us to deliver a consistent stream of leads to our brokers – a business proposition they find very attractive.
In addition, with the implementation of the financial advice business, we provide our brokers with all the tools they need to create long-lasting, sticky relationships with clients – which results in bottom line benefits for them and their businesses.
Q. What has Mortgage Choice been doing to raise its profile/brand with consumers over the past 12 months?
Over the past 12 months, we have implemented a raft of new initiatives which have helped us to enhance our branded presence at both a national and local level.
In the first instance, we undertook a nationwide radio campaign, which delivered a spike in national leads. Secondly, we worked with our brokers to produce more local marketing collateral than ever before. Thirdly, we increased the number of brokers working out of retail shop-fronts, which resulted in improved brand awareness.
These initiatives, combined with other projects, have helped Mortgage Choice to grow its national lead volumes by more than 40 per cent year-on-year.
Q. What are the three main characteristics a brokerage must have to be successful?
1. Well-defined business goals
2. Drive and a determination to succeed
3. Good systems and processes (IT, marketing etc.)
Q. What do you think the future holds for brokerages and brokers more generally?
The future is bright for mortgage brokers. The home loan market is incredibly complex and is becoming more so with each passing year.
Complexity breeds confusion, which gives strength to the mortgage broker proposition. Borrowers need – now, more than ever before – a professional to guide them through the mortgage maze.
Q. What are the main goals for Mortgage Choice over the next 12 months and how do you intend to achieve them?
The main goal for Mortgage Choice over the coming 12 months is growth – growth in broker numbers, retail shop-fronts, settlements and market share. We will achieve these things through a variety of well-planned, well-executed initiatives.
For the fourth consecutive year, Aussie has been the dominant force in The Adviser’s Top 25 Brokerages. Here, we’re joined by chief executive James Symond as he talks about what makes this group the powerhouse we know today
Q. Aussie continues to go from strength to strength, ranking as number one in the Top 25 Brokerages report once again. What specifically is
Aussie doing to make sure it continues to excel?
With nearly 25 years under our belt, we’re fortunate that Aussie isn’t a business that needs revolution, just evolution, and that’s what we’ve been focusing on to ensure our brokers continue to excel year after year.
While we have always been a business that puts the customer first, as mortgage broking as a proposition has become far more accepted, we have sharpened our focus on our customers – both our Aussie brokers and the Aussie consumer. Today the competition is greater than ever before, so when we all have similar tools in our suitcase, it’s really the brand and your unique service or selling proposition that sets you apart – so these are the areas that we focus on.
Aussie’s vision is to be the best home loan provider on the planet. We have ingrained values of ‘safe, smart and special’, and this vision and these values drive and run through the business from head office right through to our brokers out in the field. This culture and focus on exceeding the needs of our customers is what I believe really helps us to win awards like this year after year.
We’re also continuing to invest heavily in our systems and technology to ensure our brokers are able to run their businesses as seamlessly and efficiently as possible. This investment is reaping rewards through the growth of our teams and the growth in our own productivity and success. The average Aussie store today settles over $6 million per month, with some of our top stores exceeding $30 million per month. We’re focused on doing what we can to support our brokers and drive these numbers higher and higher.
Q. With the mortgage market facing a significant volume of regulation and the review around broker commissions ongoing, what is Aussie doing to make sure its brokers are well equipped to handle any changes?
We take risk, compliance and regulation very seriously as responsible lending is the key to a sustainable future. We have a household brand that we need to uphold, but also hundreds of thousands of customers and well over a thousand brokers and team members who we need to protect, so we have strongly boosted our risk and compliance team and awareness right across the business.
We have systems and processes, which includes our software platforms, where we’ve made significant adjustments to ensure they not only comply but they exceed the requirements which are needed by not only the regulator but the ultimate boss for us, which is the customer.
Q. What are the foundations that you believe a successful brokerage must have?
I believe you can be trained in mortgages and credit and you can understand the industry, but what differentiates great from good in my book is a work ethic that’s relentless, a customer passion which is extraordinary, and an absolute will to succeed to be the best you can be.
Q. What advice do you have for the other brokerages out there – from the large to the one-man bands – for them to be successful?
I think the future is very bright, and building a career and a business in mortgage broking is a smart bet. Mortgage brokers are now settling between 50 and 55 per cent of all mortgage flows in Australia. I see no reason why that share won’t increase to 60 per cent – or even 70 per cent, such as in the UK – over the coming five years.
Trusted, branded brokerages are well positioned to take advantage of this growth potential, and that’s exactly what we’re aiming to do, so brokers should think about how they are placed to tackle this.
Certainly, as far as Aussie is concerned, it’s all about smart growth. Our goal is to sustainably increase the number of stores to 300 within the next four to five years, growing the number of Aussie mortgage brokers, making them more productive, and creating raving fans as far as our customers are concerned.
I think the market and regulation is increasingly complex, and having the support of a quality business partner will enable brokers to effectively take advantage of the opportunities that a complex mortgage market presents.
Search the rankings below by using the text filters or the drop down selections:
||CHANGE FROM 2015 RANKING
||NUMBER OF BROKERS
||TOTAL LOAN BOOK (END OF FY15)
||LOANS SETTLED (FY15)
||BROKER PRODUCTIVITY (FY15)
||TOTAL FY15 VOLUMES
||Franchise and non-franchise
||Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers
||The Australian Lending and Investment Centre
||1st Street Home Loans
||WA, VIC, NSW
||ACA Mortgage Solution Pty Ltd
||Oxygen Home Loans
||NSW, ACT, Qld
||Loan Gallery Finance Pty Ltd
||Tiffen & Co.
||Alliance Mortgage Solutions
||KeyInvest Lending Services
||Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors
||Century 21 Home Loans
||Mortgage & Finance Solutions
||Home Loan Experts
||Iconic Home Loans
||NSW, VIC, Qld
||The Loan Arranger
||SwitchNow Home Loans
||RateOne Home Loans
Disclaimer: The Adviser has undertaken a process to ensure the accuracy of data used to formulate the Top 25 Brokerages 2016 ranking. Data for the ranking was supplied by organisations. While The Adviser has attempted to validate the accuracy of data, any errors or omissions are the ultimate responsibility of the company or individual that supplied the data and associated information, and to the full extent allowed by law, or ranking participants, its publisher Sterling Publishing (Sterling) and Sterling employees excludes liability for any loss or damage sustained by readers arising from the supply, use, or promotion of the Top 25 Brokerages 2016 ranking.