Financial advisers rarely plan for a career path within the sector – but upon entering it, they inevitably want to stay. Kris Pedersen mortgage adviser and NZ Adviser Young Gun 2019 Ryan Smuts also entered the industry by chance, and says that once he was there, he found that the job fit perfectly with his supportive client-oriented mentality.
“I actually stumbled into mortgage broking in a bit of an unconventional way,” Smuts told NZ Adviser. “I was at Massey University studying accountancy and in the effort to avoid accumulating a large student loan, I decided to begin offering manual labour type services; lawns, landscaping, water blasting, car washing, etc. Kris and Tennille Pedersen were my clients for washing cars, and over a couple of years I did this for them. Eventually I was asked to submit an application for a job they had on offer - and the rest is history.”
“I’ve always had a service-oriented mentality,” Smuts explained. “I love helping people in general, but more specifically, I love helping people get ahead in their lives. I’ve also had a passion for property and finance for as long as I can remember.”
Smuts’ client base includes both first home buyers and investors, but says the part of the job he enjoys the most is learning from the clients themselves. He says the brokerage’s database of ‘creative and forward-thinking’ clients can inspire and teach a young adviser to think outside of the box, with the interaction ultimately benefiting both sides.
“I recently helped a first-home buyer who wanted above 80% lending,” Smuts said. “Funding can be quite a lot more expensive between above 80% and below that threshold. A solution we came up with - as she was only 15k out from being at 80% - was to leverage against her car and use that to cover the difference. While this was on a slightly higher rate, it was only the $15k portion as opposed to the entire mortgage. Her cash flow was good so she could support these payments, and this meant she was saving about $3.5-4K per annum when comparing the scenarios. I’m confident that if she had gone directly to the bank, she wouldn’t have gotten that solution.”
“When it comes to starting out as an adviser, set a goal for yourself so you have some sense of direction,” Smuts continued. “No matter how hard you work, if you don’t know where you’re going then you can’t get there. Following that, be willing to work hard and upskill. Always put the clients’ needs first. The magnitude of these concepts cannot be overstated. If you do all of the above, you’re guaranteed success.”
Smuts says that the adviser career path creates a lot of value for the clients it serves, and he wants to be giving financial advice for the foreseeable future. Another long-term goal of his is to start up his own finance company to offer lending for more out-of-the-box solutions.