Samantha Hopper is the director of Gold Coast brokerage FD Finance, specialising in asset and equipment lending. The yoga and Pilates teacher – she still teaches Pilates every day – set up the business after becoming a mum three years ago, when she was in need of a career change. Hopper discusses diversification, clients, technology and mentoring.
Q: As a residential mortgage broker, how can I diversify into equipment and asset finance?
A: If you are a residential mortgage broker and you want to expand or transition into asset and equipment lending, I would firstly suggest studying. The process involves an entirely different skill set. The applications are different, as are the requirements and policies of each lender. You need to know the market, what you can offer, and what is going to be required from your customers to gain finance. A mentor could be a great first step. You could shadow/assist on some deals to gain an understanding of how asset and equipment finance works from submission stage through to settlement. Learn the new skills required and you will be able to diversify into that sector.
Q: What’s the best way for a broker to find new clients?
A: Existing customers are always a great place to start. Contact your existing database – see what they have coming up in the future; ask how business is going; keep in touch with their business growth and development. Are they planning any future purchases soon? Make notes and get back in contact when they are in need of your finance support. I find suppliers to be a great way of finding new clients. If I settle a deal for a supplier that I haven’t come across before, I will always call and introduce myself. That supplier may have other customers needing finance.
Q: Technology is on the rise. What are the best tech tools for efficiency and speed?
A: Yes, technology is on the rise. Thank goodness. As a young professional only three years into the finance industry, I find many lenders’ procedures very old school; I still believe there is quite a way to go. However, if you have access to digitalising everything, this will make the life of the broker, customer and lender much more efficient. Access to a great simple calculator is also going to make your life much easier.
Q: How important is it to have a mentor when you are starting your career as a broker?
A: I consider myself very lucky to have had a wonderful mentor when I started out as a broker. A mentor will give you the focus and attention that is often required at the start of your career. It takes time to practise finance; it takes time to master any new skill. A mentor can assist you with learning the lingo and working through complicated deals. I know I personally gained a lot of confidence knowing I could always call my mentor when I was unsure of anything. The more experience they have in the industry, the more knowledge they will be able to share with you.