Regional brokerage sets up Tassie office

by Miklos Bolza08 Sep 2017
Regional brokerage Robinson Sewell Partners has continued its national expansion by opening a new office providing agricultural, commercial and corporate finance in Tasmania.

The office will be located in Launceston and will be headed by David Robertson, who comes with experience in the real estate, banking and agricultural fields.

Robertson was born on a dairy farm in northwest Tasmania. He has been involved in agriculture all his life, including a 20-year stint owning and managing a large-scale grazing operation on King Island. He was also worked for real estate agency Elders and was employed for nearly four years at Rural Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

“It was a natural fit for me to join Robinson Sewell and bring their business model down to Tassie,” he told Australian Broker. “As a farmer, you deal with banks all the time. My understanding of banks comes from both sides of the equation – from being a banking client right through to being a banker.”

On leaving the banking industry in December last year, Robertson said he was seeking a new opportunity to do something on his own within the advisory space.

He could see why Robinson Sewell was a fit for Tasmania especially given the gaps in the current market. That they were like-minded people interested in agriculture was also a bonus, he said.

“They were an obvious fit. They matched what I believed was a gap in the marketplace and so it was just a really natural fit for me.”

Joining the firm around ten days ago, Robertson said he had already been around talking to locals to give them an idea of what the brokerage could do.

“We’ve been getting a very positive response right across the board from professional advisers through to farmers. It’s been very encouraging. The common thread is that we really need something like this in Tasmania.”

Gaps still exist because the idea of the agri-business brokerage is still relatively new across Australia, he said.

“It’s developed across the last five to ten years and it just hasn’t really pushed through into Tasmania. It’s something that hasn’t really been on people’s radar.”

In his new role, Robertson highlighted the need for education around commercial and agricultural finance in the local market as a key issue.

“The other challenge that I’ve picked up is that a lot of people down here have been banking with the same institution for a long period of time and it’s just bringing about change that can be a challenge.”

However, there are a lot of young farmers moving into the agricultural space who are more accepting of change, he added.

“There are a lot of progressive farmers down here who are using advisers and that’s part of the fit for us. They want to get the best possible advice that they can across all facets of their business. That’s why I think that there’s an opportunity in the market down here.”

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