Mining boom drives Backhouse wealth, today

by Ben Abbott06 Mar 2012

Osborne Park-based finance broker Ray Backhouse is riding growth in financial planning and the Pilbara mining boom to expand his increasingly diversified financial services business.

Backhouse, who featured in MPA's Top 100 Brokers listing in 2011, commenced as a Wealth Today franchisee 12 months ago as he sought to expand his business beyond pure finance.

Having completed a Diploma of Financial Planning in 2006, Backhouse said poor experiences with client handover and conversions under MLC/Garvan Financial Planning led him to Wealth Today.

The results have come quickly. While mortgages still act as the primary lead generator, over 35% of his revenue now comes from advice such as debt counselling, risk products and investments.

And this stellar growth at a time of challenge is due to that Australian economic miracle - the mining boom.

"We have quite a lot of investment clients, and quite a good deal of them are in the Northwest, in the Pilbara," Backhouse explained.

"We have been doing quite a lot of investment strategies for them, and improving their cash flow and their wealth significantly," he said.

Backhouse said these clients are at the beginning of their wealth creation journey, and need to get their spending and cash flow under control to position themselves for long-term growth.

"A lot of people spend it as fast as they make it - buying toys really," he said.

Backhouse was able to create a niche within the mining sector by getting involved with housing development marketing companies, for whom he originally did commercial lending.

"The business evolved from that - I went on to look after the clients they were selling to - mainly house and land packages - and it has just evolved from there," he said.

Backhouse now has six financial advisers based in his Wealth Today office, with clients offered additional services outside of finance and mortgages - often for a fee.

"While the mortgage business drives the planning side we are starting to get straight referrals for the full package," he said.

While he is in a position to add new brokers, Backhouse will no longer recruit new professionals who are uninterested in expanding into more holistic financial advice.

And if all goes according to plan, Backhouse will drive even more revenue for advice this year.

"I'm basically targeting a situation where the financial planning revenue will come closer to the 50% mark, but it's hard to know at this stage. The industry is changing very rapidly," he said.

Related stories:

Property advice not just a Wright add-on

Trilogy trainees add to year-on-year growth

Asian clients spur Abacus onwards

Mortgage broker adds life coaching