Death knell premature for boutique aggregators

by Adam Smith18 Apr 2012

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.

Related stories:

Tech to be last battleground for aggregators

Our brokers now ahead of the curve

Aussie's NMB buy just the beginning


  • by Country Broker 18/04/2012 11:41:52 AM

    If smaller aggregators want to really have an effect and stay in the market they need to find a way of safe guarding their brokers commisssions both up front and on going. The best way tyo do that is have a trustee in place who receives all payments and then distributes the funds , it is the only way I woud fel safe with a smaller aggregator , when Alex M started PLAN he was smart and did just that, result I feel safe even if NAB now own the business.

  • by BrokerIQ 18/04/2012 11:44:37 AM

    I struggle to understand how small & boutique aggregators can service the mdoern broker. We need state of the art CRM capability that offers multiple management functions, efficient BDM support and tools that help us build robust small businesses.

    The 'personalised serviced' for me would be expected from any aggregator and if this is the only benefit from a boutique, then not only is their proposition weak, it suggests the minds that run these businesses lack the capability to adapt to the ever changing market, and the needs of mortgage brokers.
    Well done John Symonds.

  • by Max Brewer 18/04/2012 12:05:50 PM

    As a hands on broker with an interest in a boutique aggregator group I fully concur with all the comments of John Trubicyn.Boutique aggregators have unlimited flexibility to initiate and handle change, communicate personally with brokers, audit files provide training and support etc.
    The main reason our brokers don`t utilise platforms to any great extent is that they are all fully experienced brokers and don`t need the crutch required by inexperienced brokers who are attracted to the larger aggregators.