5 Minutes With... Ajay Kumar, Global Financial Services Ltd

by Maya Breen15 Feb 2016
Ajay Kumar of Global Financial Services says he would focus on the tourism industry if he was Prime Minister for a day.

Years in the industry: 40 Location: Auckland 

Why did you get into mortgage broking? 
When I came to NZ in 1999, I noticed that home owners were paying too much interest on their mortgage. It was one of the biggest components of their monthly budgets.

Based on my significant banking experience, I could add value by advising them on how to save on this cost rather than just arranging a mortgage.

How would you sum up mortgage advisers in three words? 
Working for you

What advice would you give to a new mortgage adviser?
Put the client’s interest first

How would you change the industry? 
Introduce the concept that each mortgage structure should be customised to individual capacity so that it can save a few $100K of interest cost to the borrower.

What’s the most important thing an adviser can do to develop their business?
Be 100% dedicated to customer interest – always remember that you are dependent on the customer, it’s not the other way around!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen to your customer and do your best to satisfy their needs.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
Put lots of emphasis on the tourism industry – we have amazing natural beauty, adventure sports, etc. It is our area of international competitive advantage.

What has been the highlight of your career?
Once this lady customer approached me in fear of being rendered homeless along with her kids – she was filing for divorce but did not know how to keep paying the mortgage. I restructured her mortgage so that her monthly instalment was minimised, had reserve funds and at the same time she and her kids got to keep their own home. Every moment, a customer with limited means is able to afford their home using my skill in tailoring their mortgage to their capacity – it is more rewarding than the awards which we receive every year.

What’s your favoured style of coffee?
Depends on who’s drinking with me – it’s the company that’s more important to me than the coffee.

Union, league, soccer or other?
Cricket – Blackcaps 

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Mark Zuckerberg – thank him for creating Facebook
Mahatma Gandhi – teaching us not just the importance of peace but also the customer
Sir Michael John Cullen – In his 2007 budget, he introduced the KiwiSaver scheme which changed the landscape of savings and investment scenario in New Zealand. In the past, insurance and other investment providers used to charge 120-125% as fees in the first two years in some of the superannuation schemes. Due high fees, the customer was unable to get the original amount invested back even after 10 years.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in mortgage broking, I would be…
A scientist! I would have definitely invented something which would have been extremely beneficial to the world.

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