Over February and March, The Adviser toured the country for the Better Business Summit and Better Business Awards roadshow, partnered by NAB. The awards served as a much-needed reminder of all the amazing work that goes on in the broking sector amidst (and despite) ongoing scrutiny and political change. We showcase the outstanding brokers, BDMs and support staff who are raising the bar for the broking industry.
A WORD FROM NAB
NAB IS delighted to again be the principal partner of the Better Business Awards for the sixth year. The awards celebrates the very best in the industry, from brokers and lenders to aggregator BDMs. As strong supporters of the industry, the awards are also about shining a light on how brokers are working hard to deliver the absolute best outcomes for Australian consumers.
At NAB, we acknowledge the key role that brokers play in the lives of Australians, and we are continually working to raise the bar across the entire broking industry. While the industry has come a long way in supporting people with their home ownership and small business dreams, there is always more that can be done to further strengthen the mortgage broking industry.
NAB is committed to working in collaboration with all industry stakeholders to ensure the best outcomes for end-customers.
Congratulations again to all the award winners and finalists!
In February of this year, the broking industry was shaken by the recommendations of the banking royal commission, which recommended that the industry be radically changed. Over the course of the weeks that followed, The Adviser visited five states across Australia to deliver its Better Business Summit – partnered by NAB – which included panel discussions on the royal commission recommendations and what it meant for industry.
Given the royal commission recommendations and the changing political landscape, the industry will likely continue to face challenges that will require resilience, professionalism and determination. Our amazing speakers at the Better Business Summit were therefore focused on trust and transparency and showing brokers how they can not only become a trusted mortgage adviser, but transcend above it and ensure that they are getting attention for all the right reasons.
Kicking off in Adelaide on 14 February, and continuing to Brisbane (21 February), Melbourne (28 February), Sydney (7 March) and Perth (14 March), the Better Business Summit evolved over the course of the roadshow as more information came to the fore.
In Adelaide, the royal commission report was only a week old, and conversation over that summit largely focused on the ramifications of moving to a consumer-pays model and what that would mean for the industry, as well as digesting the government’s announcement that it would look to ban trail for new loans from 1 July 2020.
The following week, in Brisbane, we had heard several times from the Coalition government that they support the broking industry and wish to ensure competition is kept alive by delaying any decision on changing upfronts to 2022-23. Then, in Melbourne, we had seen the Labor Party’s response to the royal commission – which showed that they would follow government’s lead and look to ban trail for new loans from 1 July 2020.
At the Sydney event in early March, we knew that Labor was looking to cap upfront commissions by 1.1 per cent – and many brokers had been ramping up their engagement with politicians to ensure that all political parties were aware of what brokers do for their remuneration – and what impact any change could have on consumers and competition (take a look at last month’s edition of The Adviser to learn more about the campaigns and meetings that took place).
Finally, by the time we got to the Perth event, the Coalition government had revised its stance on trail – saying that instead of banning it for new loans from next year, it would not make a decision on changing any broker commissions until a review had been undertaken in three years’ time.
It was a whirlwind roadshow, and we were thrilled to be able to bring together and unite brokers in the different states and deliver you the news and insights of what was happening face-to-face, as they happened.
But, a key theme that came out of the summit was this: the broking industry is a united, strong industry that continues to deliver exceptional customer service and choice.
The awards that followed the Better Business Summit truly hit home that message. Over the course of the five weeks, more than 600 finalists had been chosen by our judges as paragons of good service, and the competition was tough.
Several of the speeches made by the winners over the course of the awards paid homage to the finalists, and often these were moving, inspirational, motivational and heartfelt stories of how brokers have been uniting and going above and beyond for their clients.
Congratulations to all of the winners of the Better Business Awards 2019.
South Australia/Northern Territory
Adelaide Convention Centre
14 February 2019
James Schulze, director and broker at Rise High Financial Solutions, was awarded as South Australia’s Best Residential Broker and Broker of the Year at The Adviser’s Better Business Awards in Adelaide.
The brokerage was also recognised for Best Customer Service (Office), with the judges particularly noting the office’s commitment to their clients and their commitment to improving the financial literacy of their clients and supporting the local community.
Evan Sourbis from Henley Home Loans was honoured for his service to industry through the individual Best Customer Service award for his exceptional delivery of professional and friendly service.
Greg Samuel from Samuel Finance won the Best Finance Broker award, while Joanne Dillon of Smartline Roxby Downs took home the Editor’s Choice award in recognition of her dedication to her clients by working around their schedules to ensure that she is available when she is most needed, going above and beyond to service their needs and ensure that they are mortgage-ready.
Lainie Darams from Go Loans was celebrated for her work supporting brokers in the Best Loan Administrator category.
Mortgage Choice Adelaide Hills and Mitcham/Happy Valley took out the award for Best Community Engagement Program for their work supporting local sports teams and women in sports.
Sofie Chapman from Buyers Choice Mortgage & Finance was named Rising Star this year, while Best New Office went to Aussie Torrensville.
Aussie took home several other awards, with Aussie Prospect taking home the Best Branded Office award, while across the border, the Northern Territory’s Darwin office won the Best Regional Office category, with principal Janine Ashmore clinching the Best Regional Broker award (see the broker profile with Ms Ashmore on page 18 for more).
Independent brokerages Johnston Grocke and Keylend took home the Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less) and Best Independent Office (more than 5 brokers) awards, respectively.
Mentor of the Year for South Australia this year was broker and author, speaker and podcaster Bushy Martin from KnowHow Property Finance.
Elena Alvaro from Connective, Nic Travar from BankSA, and Erin Manhood from Prospa all took home BDM awards in recognition of their service to brokers.
The full list of winners for the Better Business Awards SA/NT are…
21 February 2019
Nathan Vecchio, director and senior mortgage broker at Hunter Galloway, was awarded as Queensland’s Best Residential Broker and Broker of the Year at the awards night in Brisbane.
Eric Dong from Goldenwater Finance Group won the Best Finance Broker award, while Best Regional Broker went to Rockhampton-based broker Terri Johnson from Loan Market.
Fellow Loan Market brokers at Greater Springfield were also praised during the event, with the team receiving the Best Community Engagement Program award for their efforts establishing and supporting local sporting and charity organisations, while Loan Market New Farm support manager Justine Rugers was celebrated for her work in supporting brokers, winning the Best Loan Administrator award.
For Best Customer Service (Individual), the judges recognised Holly Bertsos from Niche Finance for her efforts in ensuring that her clients are kept well informed and well across their financial position.
Deslie Taylor from Mortgage Choice Ormeau took home the Editor’s Choice award in recognition of her dedication to ongoing development and service. As well as providing outstanding customer service and financial education, Ms Ormeau also stays at the top of her game by undertaking regular training for both technical skill and behavioural awareness. Her office was also on the Better Business Awards for Best Branded Office in Queensland.
Those who are relatively new to broking took home awards too. Kim Mahnken from Bradbury Finance was named Rising Star this year, while Best Newcomer went to Back Yourself broker John Contarino.
Time Home Loans took home two awards on the night; the brokerage was awarded Best Customer Service (Office) as well as Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less), with the judges particularly noting the office’s commitment to their clients.
Meanwhile, the Aussie brand celebrated two wins; one for its Coolum office – headed up by Trevor Ryan – which received the Best New Office award after having opened its doors 18 months ago, while the Best Regional Office award went to Aussie’s Mackay office, belonging to franchisee Max Direen.
In recognition of her work in mentoring, broker and mentor Tracie Palmer from Cornerstone Home Loans was crowned Queensland’s Mentor of the Year 2019.
Several leading BDMs were also recognised for everything they do to support their broker partners, with Mortgage Choice’s Alison Hill receiving the Best Aggregator BDM award, NAB’s Michelle Boyett winning the Best Lender BDM (Bank) category and Reece Hinchy from Bluestone taking home the Best Lender BDM (Non-bank) trophy.
The full list of winners for the Better Business Awards QLD are…
28 February 2019
The Best Finance Broker award went to Holly Bundy of Bundy Financial Services, while TM Finance Group’s Belinda Gibson was recognised for her work in the Best Customer Service (Individual) category.
Faris Dedic, director and broker at Red Door Financial Group, was honoured as the state’s Best Newcomer 2019, while, in the office categories, Red Door Financial Group took home two awards: Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less) as well as Best New Office.
Meanwhile, Ben Kinglsey’s Empower Wealth Mortgage Advisory took home the award for Best Customer Service (Office).
RateOne received the award for Best Independent Office (more than 5 brokers), while – in the Best Branded Office – Josh Bartlett’s office, Loan Market Bayside, was one of several Loan Market winners on the night.
Geelong-based Loan Market broker Sarah Thomson took home the award for Best Regional Broker once again, while her fellow Loan Market broker, Bernard Desmond, was crowned the state’s Rising Star for the second year in a row.
Copper Finance’s Vinay Gehi took home the Editor’s Choice award in recognition of his dedication to providing financial education and keeping his customers informed on market changes that could impact them.
Quality Financial Group broker and owner Sue Hayter was crowned Victoria’s Mentor of the Year 2019, in recognition of her work nurturing new talent.
Adding to his collection of awards, Mark Davis, broker and director of The Australian Lending & Investment Centre, was named Victoria’s Best Residential Broker and Broker of the Year at the Better Business Awards VIC/TAS. We caught up with Mark to find out the secrets to his success.
Q&A with Broker of the Year VIC/TAS:
Mark David, broker and director, The Australian Lending & Investment Centre
How does it feel to win these awards?
It feels wonderful to be recognised, but this is a team effort. I have two support staff that I train over a period of two and a half years to become investment managers and then another 12 support staff out the back. Because you can do as many appointments as possible, but if the engine room of your business can’t fulfil that, then you won’t be able to achieve the results you want or have the flexibility to keep changing or writing the volume that you want to. So, it is a team effort that is behind these awards.
These awards mean that we are obviously doing something right. And they mean that we’re actually doing the right thing for our clients and that we’re on the right path to where we need to go. We always try and stay ahead of the game, so by changing and evolving – especially in this environment where things are not the same as they were six months ago – we are improving all the time. Tomorrow should be better than today, that is my attitude. And if you don’t keep changing and moving forward, you will fall behind.
We love what we do, as we have one of the greatest jobs ever in that we’re educating our clients on loan structuring and helping them change their lives. It’s very, very powerful. If you love something and are passionate about it, I think that shows in your work and makes you stand out from the crowd.
New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory
Sydney Hyatt Regency
7 March 2019
Daniel O’Brien, broker and owner of PFS Financial Services, was named Best Residential Broker and Broker of the Year at the awards celebrating the NSW and ACT market.
PFS Financial Services completed the hat trick by also taking home the award for Best Customer Service (Office).
Another multi-award winner on the night was Central Coast brokerage Sphere Finance, whose director Jarred Spurr was named Best Regional Broker, while the office picked up the trophy for Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less).
In the Best Regional Office category, Aussie Toukley beat out the competition to take out the win.
The Best Finance Broker award went to Tony Bice from Finance Made Easy, while Kathy Dundas from No Fuss Homeloans was recognised for her work in the Best Customer Service (Individual) category.
Jordan Beh from Insight Property Finance was honoured as the state’s Best Newcomer 2019 and Brad East from Wisebuy Investment Group was celebrated as NSW’s Rising Star.
Growing brokerage Shore Financial was named as the Best Independent Office (more than 5 brokers) once again, while Best New Office went to Simplicity Loans & Advisory.
Richard Hewitt from Nimbus Broking took home the Editor’s Choice award in recognition of his dedication to his agribusiness clients and providing financial education to them for their specific needs.
In honour of her work in mentoring others, finance broker and mentor Nancy Youssef from Classic Mentoring & Coaching was crowned the state’s Mentor of the Year 2019.
The Best Loan Administrator award was won by Angela Xiao from Option Finance for her work in servicing broker loans.
Connective’s James Brett won the Best Aggregator BDM award, while in the lending capacity, Rosa Primerano from NAB was named Best Lender BDM (Bank) and Drew Clegg from Pepper Money won the same award in the non-bank category.
The full list of winners for the Better Business Awards NSW/ACT are…
14 March 2019
Steve Milligan, broker and director of Launch Finance, was named Best Residential Broker and Broker of the Year at the Western Australia awards night.
A conglomerate of representatives from the mortgage broking industry – including Launch Finance – were recognised for their support of the MACA Ride to Conquer Cancer in the group award for Best Community Engagement Program. The Finance Brokers Ride to Conquer Cancer saw many of WA’s leading brokers cycle through WA’s scenic countryside over the course of two days for charity and raise more than $90,000.
The Best Finance Broker award went to Joel Quartermaine from Pacific Finance, while Adam Burstein from Nu-Age Lending Solutions was recognised for his work in the Best Customer Service (Individual) category.
New brokers were also recognised for making waves in their markets. Bunbury-based broker Harley Radovan from Focused on Finance was named the state’s Best Regional Broker 2019 while professional-cyclist-turned-broker Travis Meyer from Finance Detective was named both Best Newcomer and Rising Star.
Another multi-award winner was Napoleon Finance, with the office winning Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less), while the office’s loan administrator, Roisin Brown, took home the award for Best Loan Administrator.
In the rest of the office categories, Tamara Virgo’s TV Financial Services and Planning won the Best Regional Office award, while Towner Finance was awarded Best Customer Service (Office).
Rounding off the office awards, Capita Finance was celebrated as the Best Independent Office (more than 5 brokers).
Ashleigh Patterson from Momentum Wealth took home the Editor’s Choice award in recognition of commitment to being a trusted mortgage adviser, her dedication to good consumer outcomes and her resilience in adapting to a changing marketplace.
The full list of winners for the Better Business Awards WA are...
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Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser, Australia’s leading source of news, opinion and strategy for mortgage brokers.
As well as writing news and features on the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker podcast and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
Before joining Momentum Media in 2016, Annie wrote for a range of business and consumer titles, including The Guardian (Australia), BBC Music Magazine, Elle (Australia), BBC Countryfile, BBC Homes & Antiques, and Resource magazine.
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