Faced with a complex deal, commercial broker Kevin Wheatley drew on his background as a business owner, logistician and economics lecturer
As a commercial broker, I’ve had to draw from my experience as a business owner, logistician and economics lecturer to service my clients. I have worked with clients completing residential development projects, specialised development projects and finance facilities for business clients looking to grow internationally.
Leveraging these experiences was particularly important with one of my most challenging and rewarding projects to date, something that has been ongoing for the past eight years.
My client is a large property developer who used to work with another broker. They had come to me with occasional pricing and structural queries over several years and I had previously advised them on their financial structure, funding options and market pricing.
I wanted to win their business and work with them in the future, but I knew it wasn’t something that would happen overnight. I spent eight years being ‘the other broker’.
Over time the relationship strengthened, and the client eventually approached me to help them raise $6m by refinancing their existing loans when their previous broker could not.
The client was pushing for a DA approval to provide additional capacities for a development project. They were asset rich but cash poor and needed to urgently access additional liquidity to push through the final stages of negotiation with the Land and Environment Court.
I was thrilled that the client had finally chosen me, but the project didn’t come without its challenges. They had a large portfolio with lots of assets to account for, and there were a few curve balls thrown at me as well.
There was another private debt that was originally unaccounted for, and new requirements throughout the financing due to the previous and dated accounting processes in place. There was a lot of information that I needed to include and update.
Despite this, I managed to meet every demand the client asked for, including raising short-term finance within two days to the value of $6m for legislation expenses. Without this financing, the development project would have certainly stalled.
It was an extremely stressful time. I had to make countless calls and organise various meetings to discuss the proposal with a range of investors due to such a short time frame.
Regardless of the short time frame, I was able to syndicate the funding from our investor pool within two days and release the funds, which allowed the client to eventually secure the DA approval. The funding strategy was designed to restructure and consolidate their various loans into a more streamlined facility.
The client was also in need of accounting advice as the family’s business had grown quickly in a short period of time. I offered my chief financial officer at Bayside Residential and Commercial Mortgages to assist the client with their accounting difficulties as well.
Being a commercial broker is about presenting options to your clients that will work in the short and long term
Together we helped them transition into MYOB and organised and updated all financial data. This was a satisfying exercise which helped the client transition into a new web-based application, as well as restructuring and correctly managing their accounting process.
Being a commercial broker is about presenting options to your clients that will work in the short and long term. We built trust by being reliable, consistent and present whenever there were challenges.
There are a lot of consequences for a client if things don’t go to plan or if you’re unable to deliver a result. Building that client relationship and trust over time and providing them with the best advice solutions for their needs is exactly what I did to win over this developer.
Having the patience to be the other broker for the last eight years and finding the capability to meet the developer’s needs in the lead-up to financing the development project has allowed me to become their number one. It has been a great achievement and experience, which resulted in a huge growth in volume for my business. We have been able to fund various other projects of theirs in the tens of millions.
Being able to help your clients achieve their business goals is a rewarding experience. If you can be persistent, understand their position and demonstrate how you can add value to their business, over the long term that investment will pay dividends.
Bayside Residential and Commercial Mortgages