Hot Seat: Simon Orbell

by AB26 Jun 2016
What is your most memorable client experience?
One client experience that stands out was early on in my broking career. I had a young couple purchasing their first property and they were all set to go for the settlement and had given notice to vacate their existing rental property. 

Unfortunately, a day before settlement the vendor advised the client’s solicitor that they would not be in a position to settle the next day as their bank hadn’t processed the discharge appropriately. The settlement would be delayed by a day. 

This particular young couple had no family in Sydney and put pretty much every dollar into the property purchase and didn’t have anywhere to stay the night before the settlement. I was living in a shared house with some friends at the time and after checking with my room mates we offered for them to sleep on our sofa bed in the living room the night before the settlement. Talk about service with a smile!

What will be the biggest disruptor in the mortgage industry in 2016?
I think mortgage brokers will continue to be the biggest disrupter to the mortgage industry in 2016. All of the changes introduced by the lenders as a result of APRA have meant that clients need our expertise more than ever. With all of the compliance and manual process and legislation around mortgages, technological disruption appears a very difficult proposition. 

In saying this, I do believe that brokers need to continue to evolve their customer interactions and the client experience through using the latest technologies whilst at the same time streamlining processes at the back end.

What are you property market predictions for 2016?
Smartmove operates on the lower North Shore of Sydney, in Neutral Bay, and we are still seeing very low stock levels in our marketplace at the moment. We have also seen unprecedented changes in the lending marketplace with restrictions introduced by the banks as a result of APRA’s intervention. 

As a result of these two things, I believe we will still see a strong property market this year but with much slower levels of growth than we have seen in the past couple of years.

What is the most memorable piece of advice you have ever received and who was it from?
The most life changing moment or piece of advice I have ever received was when I was just finishing university and it came from a good friend of mine. We were working at a courier company at the time and one day during a shift my friend’s brother’s business card fell out of his wallet onto his desk. As I had no idea what career path I was going to take, I asked my friend what his brother did and he replied: “He just started a mortgage broking business. He is super busy, you should give him a call and see if it is of interest to you.” The business card was that of my now business partner, David Brell.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As is the case with most young kids, I oscillated a lot around what I wanted to do when I grew up but the two occupations that stood out the most were geologist and marine biologist!