New brokers turn to mentors in times of need

by Calida Smylie17 Apr 2014
Not having a finance background came make the transition into broking particularly tricky, but one budding broker recommends doing so with the help of a mentor.

Edwena Dixon had worked for nine years in higher education and ran two small businesses on the side, before re-evaluating, aged 32, what she wanted out of a career.

Dixon decided to apply her strengths to something she was passionate about, and since she had some investment properties and friends were already seeking her advice on things like refinancing, she decided mortgage broking was the perfect fit.

Not having a finance background made the transition a hard slog, but Dixon carefully researched mentoring options and decided on the MFAA model because its structured two-year programme appealed to her as an industry newbie.

She contacted a number of brokers listed as mentors on the MFAA website, and decided experienced broker Therese O’Neill of Alpha Broker was the right teacher for her.

Dixon and seven other mentees meet face-to-face with O’Neill each month, with the mentees able to contact her “round-the-clock” for help with problematic clients or complex loans.

“Therese has been fantastic. I found a few of the other mentors were not able to make themselves quite so available, but I really needed someone who could answer my questions and explain the industry in a way I can understand,” Dixon said.

Dixon, who now works under the umbrella of sub-aggregator Buyer’s Choice, pays a flat fee of $550 a month to do the MFAA programme, which she prefers to having a cut of her profit taken each month as other mentor programmes do.

“I spent a lot of time researching options on how to gain entry into the industry. I met with aggregators and brokerages and everyone thinks they have the best model to help new entrants. But I wanted the ability to grow business at the pace I wanted… I want to carve out my own path,” she said.

Melbourne-based Dixon entered the programme in July last year and became an authorised broker in August. She is busy building up a successful independent broking business which only helps clients under 40, mainly people looking to buy their first investment property.

MFAA professional standards head Rod Edge said the rationale behind the mentoring programme is to support experienced brokers who “have a wealth of knowledge to teach to those who are new to the industry” with the systems, processes and teaching materials required to take new entrants under their wing for two years.

The $1650 base cost may seem steep to some, but Edge said it is worth it as brokers can potentially reap big rewards by training up new entrants for their brokerage.

The cost covers the prospective mentor’s three-day training programme – open to MFAA members – and also covers teaching materials, a two-year mentor master-plan, and 24 fully-documented ‘how to’ lesson plans for each month of the two-year programme.

Once you are a MFAA Certified Mentor you can access all existing intellectual property the association has on the topic, at a cost per mentee of $2800.

“A high percentage of our members are using mentoring to bring on other loan writers. One experienced broker wanted to build his business by bringing on new loan writers, but didn’t have the time to do so without following an already-developed programme. He did the course and was given all the materials and programme on paper which cut down on time and made it easier for him,” said Edge.

“The programme is good as it makes sure new entrants are set up from day one, and ensures we have minimum standards within our industry.”

Over 70 MFAA members have completed the Certified Mentor training over the past five months. The next course starts on 21 July.


  • by Grahame hale 11/06/2014 9:17:24 AM

    Some brokers I have seen are now full time mentors, which shows how attractive the money is, given the commissions. Most of my knowledge can from the BDMs not the mentors and it cost me fifty percent of my commission. MFAA should control this if they want people to join the industry.