Graeme Salt, broker and consultant for Origin Finance, reflects on his transition from town planner to broker
Q: Who or what inspired you to become a broker?
A: Believe it or not, I started my professional life as a town planner and ended up working at the UK House of Commons for a minister covering urban affairs. As a result, I have spent many years in the construction industry, and this experience has really set me up well for understanding how property markets work.
I mentor often and find the people who succeed in broking are those who have not just known banking; if you have had a well-rounded career or if you have many outside interests, you are more likely to succeed.
Q: What are your top survival tips for working in finance?
A: Look after your customers and your customers will look after your business. I advise all my mentees to focus on the customer; clients will only go with you if they trust you, and for them to trust you they have to get to know you.
You have to spend time with the customer and get them to understand you. My clients get to know quite a bit about me and my experience, but they also have to deal with my sense of humour – including dad jokes.
Q: How do you believe major events over the last year influenced broking?
A: The one constant is that nothing will stay the same going forward. Last year was a pivotal year, and 2018 looks to be maintaining this trend. APRA and ASIC are understandably and seriously scrutinising the industry, and the findings of the royal commission will have profound ramifications.
One thing about this industry is that it is dynamic and it evolves. At first many thought APRA’s clampdowns would be the death of broking, but I see them as positive. Clients are now coming to us after they have been declined by the majors, and we are often finding solutions for them in the non-conforming sectors, not least because we are seeing the offer from the securitised lenders becoming very compelling.
Q: What’s one thing, personal or professional, that you hope to achieve in 2018?
A: I have a dream of swimming from Perth to Rottnest Island. At the moment, it is more of a pipe dream because of kid duties, but it is important to me to stay fit. You can’t run a healthy business if you are not healthy yourself!