How to succeed in an overlooked industry sector

​Mortgage brokers who want to diversify but do not care to jump onto the financial planning bandwagon have been told to look at another potentially lucrative opportunity



​Mortgage brokers who want to diversify but do not care to jump onto the financial planning bandwagon have been told to look at another potentially lucrative opportunity – specialising in property investment advice.

Property Investment Professionals of Australia chair Ben Kingsley told Australian Broker the benefits for a mortgage broker who chooses to specialise in property investment advice are enormous.

In February, $10.7 billion worth of investment loans written across Australia.

“It’s a very, very large industry, with enormous opportunities around specialising. Clients you attract are usually long-term and are sticky. The vast majority of property investors use finance and leverage, so it’s a ready-made opportunity,” Kingsley said.
A recent PIPA survey of more than 800 property investors found 30% seek out the advice of a property investment adviser before purchasing and 60% take a  long-term,  strategic approach to property investment.

Kingsley said property investment advice has been overlooked as a standalone industry sector, largely because property is not recognised as a financial product by ASIC and property investment advice remains unregulated.

PIPA, whose mandate is to increase the professionalism of those in the industry and warn consumers of unscrupulous operators, is currently lobbying government to have the property investment industry regulated by ASIC. 

“Unfortunately it hasn’t been easy to get it on the government’s agenda – this government is more about deregulation than more regulation. But we will continue to lobby the government,” Kingsley said.

“Until then, we will self-govern the industry and make sure we look out for property spruikers and the like. We make sure our members follow a code of conduct with strict guidelines, give clients full disclosure on how they’re paid, and offer ethical advice.”

In the meantime, PIPA has developed its own qualification – the Qualified Property Investment Adviser (QPIA) accreditation – to give professional practitioners expertise to provide genuine property investment advice.

The course is made up of six modules – although accredited mortgage brokers may be able to skip the property finance module – and participants can learn at their own pace.

Kingsley, who is CEO and founder of mortgage broking and advisory business Empower Wealth, completed his own QPIA through part-time remote learning, taking 18 months to complete it.

The course costs $3270 if you buy module-by-module and $2945 if you buy upfront and Kingsley said the investment is worth it for mortgage brokers who want to set themselves apart from unethical property spruikers.

“The QPIA is ideal for any practitioners who wish to develop and highlight their property investment expertise and position themselves as an ethical, trustworthy professional,” he said.

“If you have a qualification you feel more comfortable offering clients property investment advice, and they will feel more comfortable acting upon it.”

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