Who or what inspired you to become a broker?
While I was working in motor finance I felt I could provide a better service outside the confines of a car dealership. I wanted to help customers with a broader range of products across a larger range of customers – not just cars, but equipment, earthmoving, home loans and technology finance. I was also encouraged by other finance professionals who recognised my passion and talent in this field.
At the time (and even now to a degree), the finance broking industry was male dominated and many competitors were convinced I would fail. This, among other things stirred me to succeed, and interestingly enough, some of those naysayers are no longer in business eighteen years later.
What is the hardest career challenge you have had to overcome as a broker?
The Global Financial Crisis was the single biggest challenge I faced as a business person. It taught me a lot about myself and how much I had in me to persevere during this period.
The biggest risk was to decide whether or not to keep the business open as many, many other brokerages folded during this time. Banks also closed their broker channels which limited the number of lending partners available for us to offer our clients.
Upon deciding to keep the business going, I restructured and re-evaluated which part of the business was the most profitable and time efficient. This prompted me to sell off the home loan side of the business and concentrate on the original core business of asset finance – cars, trucks, trailers, bikes etc. This type of finance is a lot less admin-heavy than home loans which allowed me to reduce the number of staff and level of overhead which was unfortunate but necessary to stay afloat.
Who is the most inspirational broker you have met in the industry and why?
Tracy Kearey, the director of Home Loan Connexion. We met during the process of setting up MFAA’s WIMB
N panel. Her constant drive and ambition to want to succeed and be the very best at what she does is incredible.
We have forged a great friendship based on mutual respect and continue to be enthusiastic panel members of WIMB
N. We both have a passion for our industry and educating young people via opportunities such as the Global Money Week initiative.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for brokers in 2016?
It would have to be embracing technology, such as social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, and also the ever improving CRM software systems that are available.
I have found that the power of social media particularly, when harnessed in the right direction, can be a great tool to interact with my clients (current, previous and potential) and promote the business to generate leads. It’s also a great chance to share information with industry peers gleaned from panels like the recent MPA High Performance Summit.
If you were elected as Australia’s Prime Minister tomorrow, what would be your first and top priority?
Support for small business and education, which goes hand in hand with our industry in its current state. To move forward in our industry, these are the core elements that need to be supported.