Industry figures may have sounded the death knell for boutique aggregators, but one broker group claims the call is premature.
Following Aussie’s acquisition of National Mortgage Brokers, Aussie executive chairman John Symond claimed smaller aggregators would be forced to consolidate amidst rising business costs. But KeyInvest national aggregation manager John Trubicyn has argued that boutiques are not yet down for the count, and said brokers prefer the personalised service they offer.
“First and foremost, this is a people industry, and brokers prefer to deal with experienced people who understand and care about the issues they’re facing in trying to grow their businesses. In addition, boutique aggregators can adapt to change more quickly, offer diversified commission structures tailored to the support provided, and provide personalised support services,” he said.
Symond commented that smaller aggregators would not have the ability to compete on technology platforms, and outgoing Australian Mortgage Brokers chief executive Paul Gollan agreed, saying that tech platforms could make or break aggregators in the future. But Trubicyn questioned this, saying most brokers did not utilise the technology offered by their aggregators in the first place. And regardless of whether such platforms are utilised, Trubicyn claimed that many boutique aggregators did have access to cutting edge software and client management systems.
“Tech platforms are important, but our experience has been that few brokers take full advantage of what is available to them. Certainly, beyond the calculators and loan submission platforms, many brokers are underutilising the CRM capability of most systems, and are missing the opportunity to genuinely enhance their marketing outcomes,” he said.
Trubicyn argued that independent ownership of aggregators was important, but urged transparency on the part of smaller aggregators.
“It’s important for brokers to be comfortable with who and what’s behind their aggregator. Aggregators should make available their balance sheet to brokers to support their bona fides,” he said.
While Trubicyn said independence should be valued, he rejected claims that institutional ownership of aggregators could create conflicts of interest.
“There have been recent suggestions that where aggregators are also lenders, there could be a blurring of true independence, but there is no evidence to support those claims, and most brokers would reject any undue attempts to influence the advice they provide to clients,” he said.
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