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2014 Budget "a great opportunity"

At last week's MFAA conference, fresh off the back of the budget announcements, we caught up with Mark Woolnough of ING Direct for his take on what the budget means for brokers.

Video transcript below:

Reporter:  At last week’s MFAA Conference, specially off the back of the budget announcements, we caught up with Mark Woolnough of ING Direct for his take on what the budget means for brokers.

Mark Woolnough, ING Direct
Mark Woolnough:
 I think Australians are incredibly agile and adaptable to changing with the circumstances.  I give the government some credit [to now appoint] a real transparency on resources and allocations of costs and where the money is spent and how that should be divided amongst the community.  What I do like about it though is, I sat there and I thought to myself what an outstanding opportunity and what a fantastic prospect for the advice market, whether it be for the brokers or for the financial planners around the message that’s concentrated on and focused on the aging population, on the retirement age being extended.  

The fact is of some of the economic decisions and as you know there is multiple fundamentals that go into it, but the realisation that this will probably maintain a low cash rate for a period of time, so it gives brokers a tremendous opportunity to work more closely with their current customers and also their new customers in providing solutions for home finance.  Also at the same time, working with them through that conversation around the longer financial planning and the sequencing of where they want to land at life in terms of retirement and after work lifestyle.

Reporter:  With the budget bringing retirement under the spotlight, does Woolmer think that this highlights the convergence of financial services?

Mark Woolnough:  Consumers have taken upon themselves to better educate themselves to do more research into what’s important to them and the internet and the digital world has given us amazing access.  So they are going to the advisors now looking for some real guidance and for some real support, not just a transactional conversation around I need a home loan or I need some life insurance. Now it’s the duty of the financial advisor now to help them you know unscramble the egg and solve some of these mysteries.  

I think that when you look at it in terms of the superannuation, if you’ve got a retirement age which has now been pushed out to 70 years of age, the mortgage broker now again at that stage of the financial life cycle which the mortgage is possibly one of the, if not the biggest financial decision a consumer will make, that the asset, they have that opportunity to work with them over a longer period of time and to make sure that there is a meaningful and relevant conversation now during the mortgage stage about their long term goals and objectives.  

So don’t talk to them about the immediate need in the transaction of a mortgage, what are their long term objectives, their long term financial goals and they have the opportunity to provide those solutions, whether they do it themselves through a converged model and they move into providing some further and deeper advice under the necessary qualifications or again they surround themselves with specialists that will help build their brand and their business so they retain that customer and they are not at the risk of just doing the mortgage, but potentially letting go future value that they should be creating through that longer financial life cycle.