Smartline broker Ian Simpson is based in Mudgee, NSW, but looks after many clients in Sydney. The 2020 MPA Top 100 Broker and Smartline Franchise of the Year winner started his career at Mortgage Force in 2003.
Q: How long have you been a broker, and how did you get into the industry?
A: I have been a broker for 18 years. I grew up on a farm in Coonabarabran, country NSW. After boarding school and university, I spent 10 years in investment banking as a bond trader. I had always wanted to be self-employed, and the bond market was shrinking, so I felt the opportunity was right to get into mortgage broking, having recently used a broker for a property purchase. A close friend was already established as a leader in the industry, and she was a great encouragement and mentor in the early days.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a broker?
A: I really enjoy talking to clients and finding a solution for their needs. It still gives me a buzz. None of us enjoy the paperwork process or dealing with a lender’s substandard service levels or credit policies. Therefore, I do spend an inordinate amount of time working out how I can make the whole process more efficient. I have great staff spread far and wide: one in Mudgee, two in the Philippines and one in France.
Q: Your loan growth has been considerable over the last financial year. What is the secret to your success?
A: To be honest, there is no secret other than working hard and just keep turning up. After 18 years and four full property cycles, you realise that after the good times it’s going to get quiet. Then after the bad times, it will get busy again. We just have to acknowledge and manage these cycles. Use the quiet times to fine-tune your processes, and to relax.
Q: What advice would you offer to brokers at the start of their careers?
A: Early on it is important to absorb as much knowledge as possible from others in the industry. Speak to other brokers. Ask them what tools they use. Gain their insights and tips. Use your spare time to really think about your processes and how you can make the journey for clients as enjoyable as possible. Embrace technology and always search for efficiencies, because even though you may feel like you have a lot of time now, this will soon change.
Q: If there is one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?
A: It still astounds me that in 2021 we have all this amazing technological capability at our fingertips, yet lenders can still take six weeks to assess a loan. The combination of outdated legislation and outdated lender processes means that the customer approval process is ridiculous with most lenders. The legislation needs changing, and a fresh approach needs to be adopted by management at those lenders that cannot assess a loan within a few days.