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Young Broker of the Year 2012

Staff Reporter 17 minute read

Who are  Australia's brightest young business writers leading a new generation of mortgage broking? The Adviser’s inaugural Young Broker of the Year ranking shows the future is bright for Australia’s third party distribution channel


FOR THE first time, The Adviser has decided to rank Australia’s youngest top performing brokers, and the results are outstanding.

According to research previously conducted by The Adviser, the average Australian broker is 43 years old and backed by more than five years’ industry experience. But that is not to say there are no excellent young brokers operating in the industry today, as the Young Broker of the Year report reveals.


Indeed, there are a number of truly inspiring young brokers currently working within the industry who settled in excess of 100 loans and $30 million in their first year of operation.

Overall interest in The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year was exceptionally strong, with more than 100 entrants taking part in the ranking. Of course, the Young Broker of the Year report isn’t just a ranking, it is the first comprehensive report undertaken to understand the vision of Australia’s newest brokers – tomorrow’s third party channel.

The Young Broker of the Year 2012 report will serve as a new benchmark for the industry, highlighting what it takes to be successful in today’s market. As the industry evolves over time, the way brokers operate and conduct their businesses must change too. This report seeks to understand how new entrants view the business of broking and what new thinking they are bringing to the industry in terms of advising their clients.

The 2012 Young Broker of the Year report will highlight what the future holds for the third party channel by revealing just how tomorrow’s elite professionals are growing and diversifying their businesses.

I would like to congratulate those brokers who make up the top 30 in this year’s Young Broker of the Year ranking, and I commend all brokers who participated in this year’s survey.


I would also like to extend my gratitude to our partner, Citibank, for making the inaugural Young Broker of the Year ranking a resounding success.


The future of the mortgage broking channel is in good hands, as the Young Broker of the Year ranking reveals THE THIRD party distribution channel continues to go from strength to strength.

Data from JP Morgan shows mortgage brokers are responsible for approximately 43 per cent of all new mortgages written.

Moving forward, we expect to see this statistic climb even higher, which is why it is so important that the industry has a good portion of successful young recruits to keep the broking channel going strong.

And, according to The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year ranking, I am pleased to say the industry does have fantastic examples of high achieving young brokers who are incredibly passionate about the industry, their career and helping everyday Australians achieve their dream – home ownership.

At Citibank, at least 80 per cent of our business comes from brokers, so we are proud to be associated with such a strong and vibrant industry.

We understand the role mortgage brokers play in the lives of everyday Australians, and we are keen to support this channel in any way.

We are committed to the excellence of this channel and, as such, are pleased to partner The Adviser’s 2012 Young Broker of the Year ranking.
At Citibank, we understand how important strong relationships are in business, which is why we are constantly looking at ways to improve the relationship our brokers have with the bank.

As one of the pioneers of this industry, our experience tells us that mutual growth for businesses comes by offering the best training and processes to improve broker knowledge and productivity.

We have spent much of this year gathering feedback through forums, surveys, telephone conferences and face to face visits, asking our brokers what they want to see from us and we have been acting on that feedback.

True partnership is built by seeking feedback and acting upon it, and we are determined to continue to do just that.

I would like to congratulate all of the brokers who make up this year’s ranking – you should all be very proud of your achievements.

30 UNDER 30
1    Anthony Alabakov    My Mortgage Freedom
2    Joshua Egan    Club Financial Services 
3    Simon Orbell    Smartmove  
4    Claire Kilgore    National Mortgages
5    Leteisha Pileggi    Mortgage Choice
6    Bianca Long    Mortgage Choice
7    Keith Caine    Mortgage Choice
8    Bren Rodda    Loan Market  
9    Joshua Durrant    Choice Capital Mortgages 
10    Bridget Hedland    Aussie  
11    Christian Paterson    Loan Market  
12    Kylie Ravens    Stakks Finance  
13    Kim Narayan    Mortgage Choice  
14    Stephanie Brennan    Tiffen & Co 
15    Marissa Schulze    Rise High Financial Solutions 
16    Jason Zhu    Janz Financial  
17    Paul Beig    Club Financial Services  
18    Cameron Wiles    Smartmove 
19    Hoa Hong    Home Loan Experts   
20    Simon Wood    First Point Group   
21    Amie Sullivan Tennant    My Mortgage Freedom   
22    Phil Rogers    Loan Market   
23    Jonathan Cornish    Acceptance Finance   
24    Abdullah Popal    Mortgage Lane   
25    Theo Chambers    Oxygen   
26    Brent Thrush    Get Ahead Finance   
27    Tina Pham    Home Loan Experts   
28    Jason Pogorelec    Inovayt   
29    Nick Reilly    Inovayt   
30    Jesse Medwin    Revolution Home Finance  

The Adviser’s inaugural Young Broker of the Year ranking attracted some excellent participants, suggesting the future of the third party channel is in safe hands

THE MORTGAGE industry is often perceived as being a mature industry filled with experienced banking professionals.

Data from AFG, FAST and PLAN all but confirms this, with the aggregators revealing the average mortgage broker is male, 43 years old and boasts more than five years’ industry experience.

With the average age of a broker quite high, new-to-industry recruits are definitely seen as a rare commodity.

But they are not just rare, they are also essential to the ongoing success of the industry.

If the broking profession is to grow and prosper, it is important for aggregation heads to be constantly attracting new recruits to the industry.

Attracting new blood is often a hot conversation topic, as various industry stakeholders share their views on how to attract new blood.

While some believe a lack of first year trail and the time it takes for loans to reach settlement may put brokers off entering the industry, the reality is, this is still an incredibly lucrative industry for brokers who are passionate about what they do.

As The Adviser’s inaugural Young Broker of the Year report shows, there are some phenomenal young brokers in the industry – proving mortgage broking is not just for older, more experienced finance professionals.

In this report, The Adviser ranked the top 30 performing brokers aged 30 and under. More than a ranking, however, this report also sought to understand what the future holds for the third party channel by revealing just how tomorrow’s elite professionals are growing and diversifying their business.

According to the report, one of the key techniques employed by today’s young elite professionals is social media.

More than 70 per cent of this year’s top performing young brokers admitted to using social media in their business.

This statistic is hardly surprising given that Gen Y are the most active on social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

While it is unsurprising to see more than 70 per cent of the young elite business writers currently use social media to market their businesses, it was interesting to note that more than 40 per cent have generated leads and business enquiries from their interaction with the various sites.

When asked what channels generate the most business for them, social media placed fourth behind word of mouth, client referrals and professional referrals.

More than 90 per cent of brokers had generated business through word of mouth.

In addition, more than 90 per cent had generated business via client referrals – proving there will always be business opportunities for good brokers, regardless of how long they have been in the profession.

In fact, when our elite young professionals were asked what the biggest challenge they face is, not one said the ability to generate a steady stream of leads.

Instead, the vast majority said the biggest challenge was time management.

Many told The Adviser that they are currently very busy and, as such, it is difficult to find the time needed to complete all the work they have in front of them.

And there is no doubt some of the brokers ranked in this year’s report are very busy, as 20 of the 30 brokers ranked settled more than 100 home loans last financial year – that is approximately two a week!

Because of this, The Adviser decided it was prudent to give weight to the number of loans a broker settles as well as the dollar amount of residential mortgages written when finalising the overall ranking.

To be considered a Young Broker of the Year, advisers needed to be aged 30 or under on 1 July 2012.

To ensure transparency, information provided by brokers was cross-referenced against the broker’s aggregator BDM or state manager.

Brokers could nominate themselves or be nominated for the ranking by someone else.

For those who were nominated by someone else, all figures had to be cross checked with the broker and their BDM or state manager.

Brokers’ volumes for residential and non-residential business were then weighted and combined to give a figure for total business written. In addition,

The Adviser took into consideration the number of settlements a broker had over the last financial year.

As per the ranking, brokers’ residential mortgage volumes made up 40 per cent of their overall score, while their settlement numbers made up another 40 per cent, and the amount of non-residential business written made up the last 20 per cent.

Brokers were given a score in each category and the person with the lowest overall score at the end of the day was awarded the coveted number one spot on the ranking.


More than just a ranking, the Young Broker of the Year report not only highlights what the future holds for the third party distribution channel but seeks to understand the systems and visions of Australia’s newest brokers

TRADITIONALLY, WHEN borrowers think of mortgage brokers, they don’t tend to think of 20-somethings who are passionate, driven, articulate and incredibly well versed in mortgage lending and the property market.

And why should they, with recent data revealing the average age of a mortgage broker is 43.

But while the mortgage industry doesn’t tend to be littered with intelligent Gen Ys, that is not to say there are not a few standout young performers who are making their mark on the industry.

As The Adviser’s Young Broker of the Year ranking suggests, there are a number of young professionals in the industry who are making good money and building incredibly strong broking businesses.

So how do they do it?

What does it take to be a successful, young elite business writer? By all accounts, writing huge volumes when you are new to the industry is far from easy.

Not only do these brokers not have years of industry experience to fall back on, but they also lack the client database that many experienced brokers rely on to keep their book ticking over when the market is tough.

Indeed, according to the results of the Young Broker of the Year survey, more than 60 per cent of the business written by the top performing Gen Ys comes from new clients.

Moreover, 15 per cent said up to 100 per cent of their business comes from new clients – an impressive statistic given the amount of business these young brokers are settling.

When asked what percentage of their business comes from client referrals, 20 per cent said less than 10 per cent. To put this in perspective, when

Australia’s Elite Business Writers were asked the same question earlier this year, more than 50 per cent said client referrals were their “number one” source of business.

These statistics are unsurprising as Australia’s Elite Business Writers have, on average, spent a greater time operating within the industry – giving them the opportunity to build a strong and reliable database of clients.

So, if Australia’s top performing young brokers are not receiving a huge number of leads from their existing client database, where are their brokers sourcing their business?


According to the Young Broker of the Year report, the majority of Australia’s Gen Y brokers are sourcing their business through client referrals and social media sites.

A significant 73.8 per cent of brokers said they would generate business through their professional referral partners, while 40.5 per cent said they would generate business through social media.

When pushed on which professionals make the best referral partners, one in every five brokers said accountants.

Accountants were closely followed by real estate agents and buyers agents.

As per the survey, builders, developers and financial planners provided the young brokers with the least amount of business.

This is hardly surprising, given that most financial planners may already have formed relationships with other established brokers.

What was interesting was the percentage of top brokers that admitted to generating business through their interaction with the various social media sites.

More than 40 per cent said they had generated business through social media during their career, while 72.5 per cent said they were currently using social media to market their business. When asked which social media platforms provide them with the greatest business opportunities, the Gen Y brokers were quick to hail Facebook.

According to the Young Elite Business Writers, Facebook gives them the ability to “provide clients with regular industry information” and “interact with clients on a continual, non-intrusive basis”.

With more than 11 million Australians currently using Facebook for an average of three hours a day, it is fair to assume the social networking site is a great way to connect with clients in a timely manner.

In the same way that Australia’s young top performing brokers are more inclined to embrace new forms of marketing, such as social media, the report shows they are also more inclined to change their business model to adapt to the
ever-changing market.

When asked whether or not they had added a new revenue stream to their business over the last 12 months, 68.3 per cent of the top performing young brokers said yes.

By contrast, just 57 per cent of Australia’s Elite Business Writers admitted to adding an additional revenue stream to their business.

This statistic could mean one of two things: firstly, Australia’s Elite Business Writers already boast highly diversified business models and therefore do not need to add any additional revenue streams. Secondly, it could mean Australia’s younger brokers are more open to change.

According to Connective principal Mark Haron, the latter is a more likely scenario as many older brokers are stuck in their ways.

“Many take the view that if it is not broken, don’t fix it,” he says. “Young brokers take a different approach to business. Because they are new to the industry, they do not remember the good times or how things were in the past and, as such, are far more likely to expand their business to incorporate different products and services.

“Down the track, these brokers will be the ones who prosper. Those who do not choose to diversify, really do so at their own peril.”


Of course, being a successful young broker requires a lot more than a sound business strategy and a unique approach to marketing.

To be successful at a young age and in an industry that is currently struggling requires passion, dedication and sound market knowledge.

Looking through the report, one thing became very clear: all of the young brokers who are successful in today’s market love what they do and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Smartmove’s Cameron Wiles says he finds the industry challenging, yet highly satisfying. The satisfaction he gets from the job, ultimately encourages him to work harder.

“I find being a mortgage broker is a highly satisfying and rewarding career for so many reasons,” he says.

“First and foremost, the industry is challenging. Being a mortgage broker is a tough gig – the banks are constantly changing their products, rates and credit policies.

Furthermore, purchasing a property is the biggest decision most people will ever make and managing their emotions can, at times, be challenging.

“You are constantly stimulated and can often surprise yourself with a positive outcome where you may have originally thought otherwise.

“The second reason I love this job is the people. One of the biggest positives of being a mortgage broker is meeting different people from all walks of life. Every time you meet a new client, you get a little insight as to what life would be like if you were doing their job, and I find that very intriguing and interesting.

“Finally, I get great job satisfaction from being a mortgage broker. There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you have just helped a first home buyer purchase their first property, or a family buy their first family home.

“Helping an investor restructure their debt so that they can purchase another investment property, or arranging construction finance for a couple to build their dream home, is particularly rewarding.”

Mr Wiles says being able to guide people through the largest and most stressful transaction of their life is not only satisfying but humbling – a sentiment that is echoed by Mortgage Choice’s Kim Narayan.

“I love the fact that I am able to meet with people from all walks of life and help them all achieve a common goal – the great Aussie dream,” Ms Narayan says.

“I also love the fact that every day presents a new challenge. I love helping a true Aussie battler get into their first home.

“I am a keen investor myself and enjoy talking to customers about what they need to consider when investing. I love that I can structure their first deal in a way that helps them build a property portfolio from day one.”

While some of The Adviser’s top performing young brokers believe the best part of their job is helping everyday Australians achieve their dream, there are plenty of other positives associated with being a mortgage broker, as Janz Financial’s Jason Zhu explains.

Mr Zhu loves the freedom and the flexibility that comes with running his own business.

He also loves the fact that his actions ultimately determine how much money he earns, making him the master of his own destiny.

“I like the independence of running my own business, which also provides great flexibility in the hours I work,” he says.

“However, my phone is on 24/7 for my clients. To me there is no such thing as the weekend. Every day could be a working day. I also enjoy the interactions with different clients, who have different personalities, and it’s interesting to work with them all.”

Smartmove’s Simon Orbell also likes the unpredictability that comes with a job that knows no weekends or time off.

“The greatest thing about being a mortgage broker is the constantly changing and evolving nature of the industry,” he says.

“Nothing stands still and there is always room to constantly improve and evolve, no matter how long you have been a part of the industry.

“I love creating solutions for clients that allow them to achieve their property ownership goals. I also love the fact that I can mentor other staff members to their continued success. I love the relationships with the clients and the lenders. It is the best industry in the country.”

Young Broker of the Year 2012
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