This year’s ranking proves that Australia’s most successful brokers are increasingly tapping into insurances and other forms of lending. While residential volumes remain strong, the Top 25 Elite Business Writers of 2017 are clearly eyeing other markets.
THE ROCK stars of the mortgage broking industry continue to benefit from a healthy home loan market. There are few surprises at the pointy end of our table this year as the big-volume brokers held their positions in the top five.
Residential volumes have risen slightly for some and fallen a bit for others. Some brokers have written fewer mortgages over the 12 months to 30 June 2017 compared to the same period last year. The number one broker in The Adviser’s Elite Business Writers 2017 ranking, Justin Doobov of Intelligent Finance, wrote just shy of $360 million in residential volumes in 2017. That number is up by 12 per cent compared to 2016, yet the Sydney broker wrote 102 fewer mortgages this year.
Other brokers recorded smaller volumes this year compared to last, often with a higher number of mortgages written — a possible indicator that tighter credit and tougher conditions are starting to bite.
Meanwhile, brokers appear to be taking advantage of the opportunities available in asset finance, business and commercial lending. Insurance has also been a big feature for the majority of this year’s Top 25.
Loan Market’s Alex Shumsky, ranked 25th this year, wrote slightly lower residential volumes in 2017 compared to last year, but managed to lift his total volumes by more than doubling the amount of “other business” he wrote from $7.4 million in 2016 to $16.8 million this year.
The Victorian broker recorded no insurance sales last year, but that has also changed dramatically, for this year he sold $7.5 million in cover.
Pleasingly, we have five new additions from NSW, Victoria and Queensland to this year’s ranking. Only one broker from South Australia was included in our list. No brokers from WA and Tasmania were featured.
The breakdown in volumes by state reflects the varied conditions of the Australian housing market, with NSW on top, followed by Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
|TOP 10 ELITE RESIDENTIAL
|TOP 10 ELITE INSURANCE WRITERS|
|TOP 10 ELITE OTHER BUSINESS WRITERS|
|2||Kevin James Wheatley||$196,002,654|
“Every single week, you are still challenging yourself, looking for new ways of doing things. That’s the business that we’re in.”
“I’ve only been in the game for six years. The last 18 months to two years, it really has been a team effort. There is no way one person alone could do what we do. Even though we have processes and systems, it all comes down to having better people around you. You go through a lot of strain during those first few years as a volume broker. You can go through a lot of stuff while you’re trying to find the right people.”
“I’m going to be honest. Even though we write what we write, we’re not great either. I honestly think there is another 25 to 40 per cent that could come out of the business if we just increased our staff numbers. But you have to increase the number of people who are actually helping the business. As a broker, my job should be talking to clients and sitting in front of people. If you’re doing 20-odd appointments a week and following them up, you need someone pushing the marketing, processing the loans, someone looking for new referral partners.”
“I think it’s a no-brainer. I ask my clients a few simple questions: Do you insure your car? How much does that cost? What will that car be worth in 10 years’ time? How much is your house worth now? How much will it be worth in 10 years’ time? That’s pretty much it.”
“I’ve been a finance broker for about four years. Prior to that, I was at Westpac for 22 years. The last 15 years were in commercial banking, so a lot of my connections are in the commercial side of things rather than residential lending.”
“We do a lot of cash flow lending. About 60 per cent of our book is related to the healthcare industry. Many of those clients have commercial needs, but they have strong residential portfolios, too. We also have a number of commercial property investors, which make up around 5 per cent of our book. Then we have a number of supermarkets and businesses that require working capital and cash flow.”
“You go from the security of an organisation like Westpac. In my last five years, there I was head of commercial, so not really on the tools. Personally, I like being close to my customers. When I became a broker, I joined Astute and they really provided a lot of support in the initial days.”
“I can only write the big numbers if I have support. I have three people who work with me. One is an analyst and looks after the operational side of the business. Another works on home loans and equipment finance, and our third employee provides support for the other two. We’ve worked together for almost 10 years. We all know what our skills are and work very well as a team.”
“If we sit around total volumes of $250 million a year, we are happy with that. Anything over is great. My initial five-year plan was to establish a business with good clients, people who want to form a partnership and for whom we can add value. Going forward, it will be about doing more with less, if that makes sense.”
“About 95 per cent of the leads I generate myself. Each time we service a client, we make sure the quality is second to none. We keep asking for referrals from each client we work with. They support us in that way. “Every client is like growing a tree. You look after it, grow it and over time get more fruit from it.”
“We provide quick responses to our referral partners. Even if we can’t do a deal, particularly with real estate agents, we make sure we tell them that promptly. For me, if I can’t do it, I tell them I can’t do it. If I can, then I do.”
“I offer mortgage protection insurance to all my clients. It’s a back-up plan for anything unfortunate that may happen. “It all depends on how you present it. If you create the need for the client and believe in the product, the clients will be open to the discussion. We don’t do any hard selling. We give customers the choice and work with them on what options will suit their situation.”
“In the last six years, I have never travelled to a client’s home. They all come to see me in my office. I don’t see clients on weekends, and my last appointment with a client is at five o’clock in the afternoon. I’m proud of being able to do that because I know it is not easy.”
“Instead of just familiarising ourselves with vanilla deals like low LVR, PAYG loans, we are always upgrading. We can do non- conforming loans, complex applications with multiple trusts and companies. If you receive 10 leads and you only know how to do the easy loans, you might only be able to convert five. Leads are hard to get. But if you improve your knowledge, instead of just converting five, you can maybe convert seven.”
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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