New technology aims to defeat 'spruiker' mentality

by Mackenzie McCarty13 Jun 2013

The difference between a decent, well-intentioned property investment adviser and a ‘spruiker’, says Forrester Cohen CEO, John Moore, is a simple question of what comes first on the agenda: planning, or deciding on a property.

Moore, a Sydney-based property investment adviser, says a spruiker will push a client towards an individual property from the get-go, while a good adviser will start by looking at the client’s knowledge, skillset and strategy – and he believes his company’s new app is a step in the right direction.

The online and App-based Property Puzzle Quiz, aimed at investors-to-be, asks the user to answer roughly 40 questions divided into six categories, including goals, planning structure, etc. The individual’s results are then compared to those of ‘professional investors’, defined by Forrester Cohen as ‘those who are earning from $2,000 to $10,000 per week passive income’.

Moore says he hopes the App will help steer prospective investors in a more 'sustainable' direction.

“I think in an unregulated environment, there’s no processes and procedures for [property] advisers to go through to maintain that professional relationship with their client. Currently, in this industry, we have a number of people that represent venders’ agents and people like mortgage brokers tend to refer their clients to those venders’ agents, who are masquerading, if you like, as property investment advisers.”

“The thing is, they’re representing the vender’s agent rather than representing the client. And so the idea of the App is to identify the skills of the client to help qualify their skills, ability and risk profile, to understand what their approach is to investing and to provide advice to allow them to achieve what they want to achieve.”

Moore says he would welcome regulation of the property investment industry, but believes that, for now, the onus is largely on investors themselves.

“I think regulation would be good, but I think the way that it can be approached [for now] is investors should make sure that, if they’re getting property investment advice, they’re covered under PI, because if they’re covered under a professional indemnity process, that means that it’s an insurable process, it’s reliable and in some sense it’s endorsed by the insurers.”

Though the quiz results emailed to the client include endorsements and contact information for Forrester Cohen, Moore says he hopes brokers will consider using it with their clients as a tool for understanding clients’ needs and expectations.

“It was in fact designed for that particular situation. A broker can simply download the app and ask their client to fill it out if they’re interested in investing in property. What that will do, is it will help whoever’s advising that client to understand the areas of knowledge that they need to be happy with the advice process.”

The quiz can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store or Forrester Cohen's website.


  • by Brian C 13/06/2013 10:42:00 AM

    Maybe ASIC will take notice & regulate Property Investment advice just like Financial Planning & Mortgage Broking & force the property spruikers & their unethical selling methods from the industry.

  • by Peter Fast 13/06/2013 10:58:34 AM

    True property investment "advice" will only ever be achieved when the presentation of that advice is in the same format as a Statement of Advice provided by Financial Planners.

    It will therefore include full disclosure of all fees, charges and commissions relating to the transaction and hopefully an analysis of the cashflow projections and tax implications.

    Until all levels of Government support that with robust legislation , it won't happen.

  • by QEDRisk 13/06/2013 11:15:35 AM

    I get that John is being genuine and certainly this sounds like a great product. But the reality about self-regulation is that the hard issues are never tackled. Look at the Banking Code of Conduct. Ten years on and it's just a bag of wind.

    Agree with Peter and Brian - the only way to finally lay this one to rest is for all of us to turn up the heat on government to hand this industry over to ASIC.