Andrew Soo is the director of GM Capital Solutions, a brokerage specialising in construction, commercial and property funding. The AMAs Broker of the Year – Commercial excellence award winner describes his career path.
Q: What was your first job before you joined the finance industry?
A: My family operated buffet restaurants in Newcastle and the Hunter, so I grew up in large kitchens that could feed up to 500 people at a time. Throughout high school I helped out every weekend, taking orders and cleaning tables. While I was completing my university studies, I continued working in the family business and was given more responsibility to manage staff and run the operations. Had I not pursued a career in finance I would have probably ended up being a restaurateur.
Q: Tell us about the path you took to becoming a broker?
A: My dream was to run my own business. Being a broker made sense as I enjoy helping people and working in finance. After completing my university studies, I went on to work for Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and NAB in their business and corporate banking teams. My roles were all client facing, which provided me the opportunity to build strong relationships as well as hone my technical skills in finance. During my 15-year banking career, I built up enough skill sets and contacts to give me the confidence to go out on my own. The business has been operating for over 20 years. It was expanded into a wider partnership and rebranded as GM Capital Solutions, bringing in experienced finance professionals who have helped businesses and completed projects across Australia.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your role in broking?
A: Being my own boss, I enjoy the freedom and flexibility to work with my clients to find solutions to their finance needs. When I worked in large institutions, I was restricted by what types of clients I could deal with and what options I could present. Now I feel I can genuinely help people with their financial needs and deal with clients across a wider range of industries. We also collaborate with other professional services firms and brokers to find unique ways to help our clients.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your jobas a broker?
A: As a commercial broker, our job is to understand our client’s business and the industry they operate in. Every business is different, so we are constantly learning new things about businesses all the time. The better we understand the business, the better the outcome will be for our client. It’s very rewarding but can get very technical and complex. Our clients are very passionate about their businesses and expect us to be up to speed within a very short period of time.
Q: If you weren’t a broker, what would be your ideal career?
A: I have always wanted to be a teacher – I enjoy educating and coaching. If I ever get tired of working in finance I’d like to move back to Newcastle and retire as a teacher.