Broker Phil Caldwell started his own mortgage finance company after seven years in the financial industry, and attributes his success to effective organisation and recognising the importance of client relationships.
“The key to running a successful business is being highly organised and making sure you’re keeping up with all your clients,” says Caldwell. “We’ve got about 3000 clients in the database, and if you don’t know how to be organised and how to prioritise, you shouldn’t be in the business.”
“Feeding back to clients is also important- ask them for referrals and get some nice feedback. All of our clients come from referrals and existing clients- we don’t do any advertising, we just ask every single client for a referral. We live in a small town, so it’s not rocket science – you give a good service to someone, and they’ll pass it along.”
Caldwell says the industry is set for major chances with the incoming compliance regulations, but that the key is preparation.
“We know it’s coming,” he says. “If you’ve got robust processes in place, then it won’t be a major issue. But if you’re trying to avoid the compliance side, then you’re going to get stuck and be found out.”
Despite the uncertainty, the broker community has welcomed the introduction of higher standards and tighter compliance requirements. According to Jeff Kerwin from Nest Home Loans, the new regulations will bring some much-needed quality control to the sector.
“Back when I joined, it was a highly unregulated and uneducated industry,” says Kerwin. “You were able to start mortgage broking and giving advice with no real qualifications and no background in the finance industry. I was lucky enough to be mentored by very skilful people, but I see other brokers coming into the industry and not getting that same support framework. That’s not good for the reputation of the industry as a whole, and it leaves it open to cowboys and bad advice.”
“I’d like to see a lot more regulation and education happening, and for there to be a higher standard to enter the industry. Hopefully the new compliance regulations will sort all that out. So I’m waiting with bated breath!”