Talking to Mortgage Choice Newtown’s owner/partner and broker Owun Taylor, an impression quickly forms that there is a lot going on at this brokerage.
There is an energy and innovative spirit that has no doubt been a catalyst behind the brokerage’s plethora of awards for business excellence and financial planning, catapulting them to join the elite ranks of the franchise’s network.
Taylor has run the NSW branch for 15 years with business partner and broker Suzanne Taylor, who transitioned to broking from state managerial roles in IT software sales. Taylor himself led a career for 16 years as an aircraft engineer, drawing parallels to his current profession in that both dealt with numbers and logical paths to find a solution.
“The one thing I missed was the fact that I wasn’t dealing with different people all the time,” he says and so he turned to broking soon after Suzanne opened the Mortgage Choice branch. “We thought it was a great option then and happy to say it still is,” he says of the franchise. “It’s certainly grown with the market and adapted.” And 15 years in the industry has resulted in many long term clients.
“We now have these clients who when we first sat down with them they were maybe single and we’ve seen them get married and have kids and now we’re planning the wealth creation - it’s adapting and moving with them,” says Taylor, explaining over 80 per cent of their business has consistently been through referral year on year for the past decade.
The branch was most recently welcomed into the prestigious High Flyer category at Mortgage Choice’s national conference, which recognises their top franchise owners nationally in terms of settled loan amount and loan number.
Their young financial planning arm, launched just 12 months ago, has already been acknowledged by CEO John Flavell as one of the most successful within the Mortgage Choice network. “We’ve always had the attitude of project managing the entire process which was then the logical step to us starting the financial planning business as well.”
The move has expanded their team to eight, with dedicated financial planners and brokers to provide the two different services. “They are two very separate crafts,” says Taylor, emphasizing the time and specific skill set involved in each. “I think anybody that tries to say they’re going to do both is either really clever or they’ve got no home life.
“(Financial planning) is a vitally important thing to look at quite honestly, because the space of the broker I think has changed dramatically over the last five years. You can’t expect when a client walks in that they always know what they want. And I do believe that the customer is not always right, they don’t always know what they want.”
Which is where their passion for further educating their clients comes in. Taylor is a key speaker at their regularly hosted, free in-house seminars covering buying the first property and property investing to financial planning and mock auctions and attracting up to 45 people at a time.
“Suzanne and I are very focused on the education behind everything, especially with finance. And I think that’s part of what has put us in good stead with people - taking the time and we want people to understand what we’re doing. We might put things on hold, give them a bit more education and then take it from there and they end up appreciating it more and become long-term clients.”
But beyond the day-to-day and educating their clients, the Newtown team also organize events outside the brokerage (among them is booking a cinema for 160 clients, “it’s just a cool night to catch up with people”) and are very active in the community and with charities. Part of every loan they settle goes to Ronald McDonald House and in 2014 they were the largest corporate fundraiser for children's charity Camp Quality. This year they aim to beat their total and host an Italian themed sit-down dinner to raise $15,000.
With such a dynamic and busy professional life, it’s a wonder Taylor still has time to exercise his improve comedic skills, play football for the Marrickville Red Devils and enjoy his passion for motorcycling. But it’s safe to say this is a brokerage that will continue to garner well-deserved recognition.
“It’s a classic case of a little bit of absolutely everything,” says Taylor. “There are no hidden secrets to any of it - it’s just doing the right thing.”
This article originally appeared in Australian Broker issue 12.17.