Brokers diversify amid shifting market

Who is diversifying into other asset classes?

Brokers diversify amid shifting market


By Ryan Johnson

As the home loan market gets more competitive, industry professionals are taking bold steps to redefine the scope of their services and provide comprehensive financial solutions to their clients.

Among those leading this charge are Johnny Nakhoul (pictured above left), managing director of Hivue Finance, and Douglas Chiganze (pictured above right), finance broker at Mortgages AU.

“Mortgage broking experience has made my approach to finance broking a lot easier,” Chiganze said. “The same basic principle remains the same.”

“It’s all about understanding your client and their needs and obtaining the most suitable option for them.”

The benefits of diversifying your broker business

With over 19,000 mortgage brokers in the industry and around one third of those diversifying into the commercial space, it’s little wonder that more industry professionals are branching out their services and launching new ventures.

The trend has been especially apparent in recent months as the residential market slows with more borrowers refinancing and businesses struggle to find financing options amid the cost-of-living crisis.

After working in the industry as a relationship manager, Chiganze moved across into mortgage broking in December 2022, specialising in home loans for doctors, nurses, pensioners, teachers, and the self-employed.

Six months later, he diversified his business to offer commercial and asset finance to his niche client base.

“I made the jump to mortgage broking last year to bet on myself, challenge myself in a new area of lending and have full autonomy as a business owner,” said Chiganze, who operates out of Victoria.  “Now I want to reach a wider audience as interest rates are making servicing of loans more difficult.”

While others prefer specialising in their craft over diversifying their services, Chiganze said being able to offer more services helped  his lead generation, especially since he was just starting out.

“It enables your clients to come to you for more options and being able to offer a wider range of services increases your word-of-mouth marketing,” he said.

I want to differentiate myself in this new role as being able to offer holistic, end-to-end solutions for clients in all aspects of lending and other professional services that they might require through my existing network.”

Chiganze said this was particularly crucial for brokers looking to tap into a specific niche, like him.

“Getting in front of this niche clientele and tailoring my marketing can be a challenge,” he said.

“The best way is to cast a wide net of services, use my existing network and letting word of mouth spread that way. Releasing marketing materials at conventions are sponsoring events has also helped.”

Turning challenges into opportunities

For Nakhoul, the leap from his days at Commonwealth Bank (CBA) to founding Hivue Finance in July marked a pivotal transition.

Based in Sydney, Nakhoul said his new venture aimed to deliver an “all-encompassing financial journey”, covering a wide spectrum of services, including property loans, car and asset financing, and various business finance solutions.

“Our collaborative team approach makes us unique in this market as we join forces with expert accountants, solicitors, real estate pros, financial planners and conveyancers,” Nakhoul said.

“Together, we're poised to challenge the private banking realm by delivering personal, holistic financial support to high value clients like never before.”

In terms of why he had launched a business now, Nakhoul said the current market offered a “mix of challenges and opportunities for brokers” and he decided it was time to offer value.

While the recent economic shifts and regulations have added complexity, they also highlight the need for expert guidance.

“We want to be positioned so we can turn challenges into opportunities,” Nakhoul said.

“Market fluctuations? We've got you covered. Our goal is to leverage our strengths to make the most of these dynamic conditions and offer our clients innovation stability, innovation, and success.”

To specialise or diversify

While some in the industry consider the opportunity in other asset classes such as commercial lending to be a gold mine, others say specialising is better in the long run.

For Chiganze, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the question of whether to specialise or diversify.

“It all just depends how you want to setup your business, your processes, marketing and target audience,” Chiganze said. “For me, my network often has many different lending needs, so it makes perfect sense to offer a wider solution to my clients.”

Nakhoul agreed, however, he was “crystal clear” that the opportunity across the financial lending space was too good to pass up.

“We're determined to cement our position as a pioneering force in finance,” Nakhoul said. “With integrated services covering owner occupier or investment property finance, business and asset finance, plus a network of seasoned experts, we're ready to make waves across the board.”

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