New broker franchise reports significant uptake

by Julia Corderoy11 Feb 2016
The retail business of a leading aggregator has reported impressive uptake from brokers since its soft launch in September 2015. 

Speaking to Australian Broker, the head of iConnect Financial – the retail arm of Connective – said the new franchise is well on its way to achieving its growth targets for 2016, despite its official national launch still looming.

“We are still yet to launch it as an official franchise but we have had 52 brokers take up and join so far,” Leith Wickstein told Australian Broker.

“[The brokers] are still operating as iConnect Financial but at the moment we have not specifically charged anything to operate under the iConnect brand. We are in the process of setting up all the franchise agreements so we are not officially a franchise.

Wickstein says the official national launch is slated for April but with 52 brokers signed up, the franchise is more than half way to achieving its goal. 

“I would be hoping that we would ne nudging 100 brokers by the end of the year,” he said.

The early adopters are predominantly from Sydney and Melbourne, says Wickstein, however there are iConnect Financial brokers operating in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia at the moment too. Wickstein says the new retail offering has received very positive feedback. 

“We have had very good feedback. [Our brokers] are loving the branding and the support that they are getting. 

“The lead generation that is coming through – albeit we are very new in that space so we will keep building that over time to achieve more organic growth – has also been very positive and handy for our brokers.

“The structure around best practice processes within their business and software too – our brokers are all enjoying it.”

At the franchise’s soft launch in September, Connective’s general manager of strategy distribution & digital, Steve Heavey, said a big part of iConnect’s unique offering would be the launch of a new comparison website, RateWatchers and online lender, – which will both generate leads for its iConnect brokers.

Wickstein told Australian Broker that consumers and iConnect Financial brokers can expect these services to launch by the end of this year or early 2017. 

“We are getting [leads] from our flagship website at the moment and through digital advertising and spending.

“We don’t have a definite launch date for [RateWatchers and OnlineHomeLoans] at this stage, we are still working through the deployment of how they will go with the resourcing we have internally. But we would be aiming for the end of this year or early next year.”