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Elite Business Writers 2018
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Elite Business Writers 2018

The top 25 elite business writers for this year’s ranking have shown that tighter lending policies and the ebbs and flows in market conditions are no obstacle to broking success. Charbel Kadib finds out who made it as Australia’s leading brokers this 2018.

Charbel Kadib Comments 0
— 6 minute read

A word from Mortgage Ezy:

We are thrilled to sponsor the Elite Business Writers ranking for 2018. The amazing individuals featured in this year’s list have demonstrated true excellence, which should be shouted from the rooftops.

Mortgage Ezy is passionately committed to supporting its business partners. From the outset, we have broadcasted that brokers are best equipped to cater for borrowers’ needs and so we have only ever distributed our solutions exclusively through our network of accredited partners.

As one of the last independent non-banks, we remain committed to third-party distribution, and we continue to champion broker and client rights and fight to ensure a fair playing field for all.

Excellence is one of our core philosophies. As a smaller company, without the resources available to the major players, we have to be quick, nimble, flexible and adaptable. Delivering with excellence is an essential part of the challenger spirit that drives us to be a champion for Australian brokers.

Peter and Joanna James
Mortgage Ezy

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Ongoing scrutiny, ever-changing lending policies, increasing workloads and changes to product offerings might seem like a barrier to growth, but as The Adviser’s Elite Business Writers 2018 ranking shows, brokers are resilient to change.

Topping the list was principal and investment lending manager at The Australian Lending & Investment Centre (ALIC) Kevin Agent, who wrote an astonishing $171.2 million in residential loans; $239.9 million in insurance loans (also topping the list in that category); and $4.3 million in other loans, which include commercial loans, business loans, leasing and equipment finance, cash flow finance, car loans and personal loans.

Meanwhile, Mr Agent’s colleague at ALIC, Mark Davis, who placed second in the overall rankings, topped the list for residential loan volume written, which totalled $300.7 million.

Leading the category for nonresidential and insurance volume was Daniel Green from Green Finance Group, placing sixth in the overall rankings.

Mr Green, who predominately specialises in finance for the hospitality industry, wrote $176.5 million in commercial loans, business loans, leasing and equipment finance, cash flow finance, car loans and personal loans.

Mr Green said that he believes specialisation was the key to his success. “There aren’t many brokers in Australia that specialise,” Mr Green said.

“Your general commercial broker can write a loan for a mum and dad business buying a commercial property, but when it comes to those industry specialisations, there aren’t many brokers in Australia that have that knowledge.

“That’s one of the reasons why I’ve written so much business.”

ALIC’s Natasha Choi, who placed ninth in the ranking, agreed: “In this environment, I do believe in specialisation.

“We certainly do not believe in being a one-stop shop for financial services. I just want to make sure that what I deliver is what I promise, and that the clients are educated along the way.”

Andrew Mirams from Intuitive Finance, who placed third in the rankings, added: “I think you should have some specialty.

“If your specialty is investment loans, that doesn’t mean you don’t write owner-occupied home loans. You need to be across it, but I think specialising is a far greater opportunity to be an expert in your field.”

Further, despite reports of a slowdown in the housing market, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, the rankings revealed that 20 of the top 25 brokers are based in NSW and Victoria.

Colin Mason from SMS Finance, who placed 10th in the rankings, said that his volumes have increased off the back of weakness in the market.

“We’ve seen that our business has grown through it,” Mr Mason said.

“We’ve seized opportunities in the marketplace with accountants, financial planners and real estate agents. “Where people are struggling to obtain finance, we’ve jumped in and offered our assistance and have been able to support many clients over the last six to 12 months.

“If anything, we’ve developed more relationships over the last six to 12 months than we have over the last five or six years.”

However, as Ms Choi remarked, such success “doesn’t come easy”.

When asked what advice she would give to new entrants in the broking industry, Ms Choi said:

“Be prepared to work hard. “I’ve never worked harder in my life, but I also haven’t seen as much reward and satisfaction from the impact and influence that you can have on people’s lives.”

#3: Andrew Mirams, Intuitive Finance 

Q. WHAT LOANS DO YOU WRITE? WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU SERVICE?

My sweet spot is investors and self-employed clients, working for those who need a little bit more guidance around setting up an investment strategy, and self-employed clients who need help reading and understanding financial data in order to put it through to a bank and achieve the right outcome.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

Sometimes when you’ve had enormous growth like we’ve had for five years, you’ve just got to sit and consolidate, but in saying that, I’m really gearing up for the great opportunities that will present. What happens in these markets when lending gets tougher is you have a lot of people dropping out and there’s more consumers that want to use brokers.

#6: Daniel Green, Green Finance

Q. WHAT LOANS DO YOU WRITE? WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU SERVICE?

My target market and the majority of my clients are from specialised industries. I have clients from hotels and pubs, childcare, managed rights, accommodation (motels and big hotels). I have a lot of contacts in each of those industries.

Q. WHAT ARE THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN WRITING RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL LOANS?

Probably the complexity. For a home loan, you look at equity and servicing; whereas, you’ve got so many facets in writing a commercial loan. You need to actually look at the financials, the figures and the trends... to make sure it works... you need to conduct an analysis of the business for the last three years.

Q. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU OFFER TO MORTGAGE BROKERS LOOKING TO ENTER THE COMMERCIAL SPACE?

Start small. For example, start with equipment finance to learn how to write an equipment finance loan for a car or for self-employed clients to build your knowledge around those areas. Then look at simple commercial property transactions for clients who have a business and want to buy a commercial property.

#9: Natasha Choi, The Australian Lending & Investment Centre

Q. WHAT LOANS DO YOU WRITE? WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU SERVICE?

I predominately write residential loans. Approximately 50 per cent of my key clientele are seasoned investors who are aged between 30 and 45 and generally in the professional services space. The other 50 per cent are first home buyers (FHBs), but the FHBs are a pretty strong calibre of FHBs that are looking in the inner suburbs or are on very decent incomes.

Q. WHAT ARE YOUR SHORT- TO MEDIUM-TERM PLANS?

My plans for the next 12 months are to work harder and to work with a smaller group of clients who value my advice and expertise. Not every client is going to be suitable for me, and I’m OK with that. I’ve decided that I’m putting my foot down. I only want to work with clients that want to work with me. I’m not going above and beyond for clients who are only half-committed, because I know that there are other clients who will be 100 per cent committed. I think that’s pretty important because we’ve had to work 30 to 40 per cent harder with the changes in lending policy, and that information is still slowly being relayed to the market.

#10: Colin Mason, SMS Finance

Q. WHAT TYPE OF LOANS DO YOU WRITE? WHAT TYPE OF CLIENTS DO YOU SERVICE?

Predominately, I write residential home loans. There’s a lot of self-employed people here on the Sunshine Coast and it seems to be the trend up here. If you do the right thing by them, they seem to refer the people that are in their networks and their own personal clients to us as well. We’ve got a very good business going at the moment.

Q. WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU OFFER TO NEW AND ASPIRING BROKERS?

Get yourself a good mentor and find a business that’s going to support some short- to medium-term growth. Talk to other mortgage brokers. Have a good team of people around you. Work smarter, not harder. Go through your processes and define what creates growth, and how you’re going to be able to excel in the market.

Elite Business Writers 2018
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Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib is a journalist on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel held roles with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts. 

Charbel graduated from the University of Notre Dame Australia with a Bachelor of Arts (Politics & Journalism).

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