Growing smart: How one brokerage turned obstacles into drivers for growth

How one brokerage turned obstacles into drivers for growth

NFS mortgage brokerage is living proof of the success that can be achieved with a mindset acknowledging “the obstacle is the way“. A partnership between two former co-workers, founded in 2016, the business grew by 28% to $233m in 2020 alone. Their experience and approach provide key learnings for similarly resilient brokers.

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The buy-sell cheat sheet: 10 golden rules for preparing to buy or sell a mortgage trail book

10 golden rules for preparing to buy or sell a mortgage trail book

Buying or selling a mortgage trail book need not be a difficult or angst-ridden process. All buyers and sellers really want is to increase the certainty of a sale proceeding and speed up the time to completion, so as to help avoid any nasty surprises.

With that in mind, here are our top 10 golden rules for selling or buying a trail book.

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Show me the money: How to create additional value in your planning practice

How to create additional value in your planning practice

2020 has been a strange year to say the least. With the fate of the economy at large in flux, it has never been as important to future-proof your business. Whether you’re looking to attract new talent, secure additional funding or exit the industry gracefully, it’s worth putting a few tangible strategies in place to enhance the value of your practice

We’ve already looked at the factors that influence practice value, now here are our seven tips for creating additional value in your practice.

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The smart money: How one mortgage broker grew his business through ingenuity, diversification and smart funding

How one mortgage broker grew his business through ingenuity, diversification and smart funding

Back in 2015 Craig Vaughan had an idea. Already running a successful mortgage brokerage (since 2007) he knew there had to be a better, smarter, more efficient way to write more business and create a better client experience without being insanely overworked.

Given that his concern was fairly universal for mortgage brokers, Craig decided the solution was a workflow engine specifically for brokers, geared around enabling teams to effectively allocate, time and track tasks to enable efficiencies and greater loan volumes to be written within agreed SLAs.

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Seven factors that influence practice value: Understanding the factors and what they mean for your financial planning business

Understanding the factors and what they mean for your financial planning business

For financial planners, like most industries, 2020 continues to present a litany of challenges that colour the future with a particular shade of uncertainty that appeals to only the most hardened opportunists. And that’s just the pandemic part. With the transition of financial planning to a profession with massively increased educational and regulatory burdens, the planning industry is under more pressure than most.

As the industry rapidly consolidates, how are the smartest and most adaptable financial planning practices adjusting to the myriad challenges being presented? And where are the opportunities to turn these challenges into upside, build resilience and create additional value in your business?

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Connective appoints TrailBlazer Finance to Asset Finance panel

Connective Asset Finance has announced the appointment of specialist lender, TrailBlazer Finance, to its panel.

The addition of TrailBlazer Finance introduces a funder whose sole focus is unlocking the value of intangibles to which lenders ordinarily give little or no value. This specifically benefits financial planning, property management, accounting and insurance brokerage clients who are typically hard asset-light but have built great recurring revenue streams. This allows them to monetise their recurring revenue without needing property to secure their loan facilities.

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The Balloon Booster, our low repayment loan for mortgage brokers and financial planners

M&A specialist Jeff Zulman explains why brokers who can hold on through the current cycle will emerge stronger

 

Crossing the COVID-19 chasm: Why brokers who can hold on through the current cycle will emerge stronger

In an excerpt from his recent interview with Stuart Donaldson at the Mortgage Business Commercial Masterclass, M&A specialist and TrailBlazer Finance Managing Director, Jeff Zulman, explains why brokers who can hold on through the current cycle will emerge stronger.

Adapting Geoffrey’s Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, which taught the start-up community how to leap the chasm between early adopters and the early majority, Jeff applies this model to the mortgage broking industry in a COVID-19 landscape.

He surmises that the Australian mortgage broking industry has experienced its halcyon stage, growing its market share from 18% in 2002 to a high of 60% in 2019 to hover around 55% in 2020 (Source: MFAA). Along the way it has suffered a litany of setbacks – the GFC, increased regulation and then the threat of abolition of trail – and finally finds itself in the COVID-19 chasm, the “valley of death”.

For those brokerages with the strength and resilience to survive this current phase – those that can demonstrate their ability to transcend cycles, build value and sustainability and come out the other side – steady, mature growth awaits, and, with it, tremendous opportunities from an M&A perspective.

Watch the short interview: M&A expert Jeff Zulman tells mortgage brokers to hold on

Crossing the COVID-19 chasm

Crossing the COVID-19 chasm

If you are looking for advice around acquiring or selling trail books or need a cash flow boost, contact us today for a confidential conversation.

How to use these challenging times to grow your brokerage

It goes without saying that large and small businesses alike are facing unprecedented challenges in the current environment. Brokers are certainly well-versed in how to hand tough times. What we know from those times is that where there are challenges there are invariably opportunities. Sometimes it’s simply a question of finding a partner to help you realise those opportunities when they present themselves. 

In 2014, Chris Booth caught wind of an unmissable opportunity. At the time, he and his other business partners were running a successful full-service financial advisory business, Announcer Mortgages (now Infocus).

When they were offered the chance to buy an undervalued client book, an acquisition that would allow them to increase their footprint and further diversify their business, they decided to try to pull together the funds to make it happen. Knowing the book would eventually appreciate, they hoped to engage, convert and grow as many clients as possible before selling the book at a higher multiple.

Chris Booth, Head of Lending, In Focus

Chris Booth, Head of Lending, Infocus

Finding funding

Having pooled their income streams, Chris and his partners shopped around for lenders to fund the purchase. Unhappy with the options available to them, Chris spoke to the Executive Director at his aggregator who facilitated an introduction to TrailBlazer Finance’s Managing Director, Jeff Zulman. Using a specialist trail book loan from TrailBlazer, Chris and his partners were able to borrow against Announcer’s mortgage trail book, rather than risk personal assets, in order to free up the capital to buy the book.

In the end, we proceeded with the loan purely because of Jeff and the team. They made themselves physically available to us throughout the process and it gave us great confidence, both personally and professionally, that we were making the right decision with the right lender.

Making growth happen

At the time of purchase, Chris was working with another part-time broker. While the business didn’t convert quite as many clients as they’d bullishly projected, they did manage to sign on around 500 fee-paying full-service clients from that book alone. By the time he and his partners decided to sell the business three years later, Announcer had increased in size to three full-time brokers, their client roster had more than doubled and the business had grown by almost 130 per cent in terms of the underlying trail. They subsequently sold the business to Infocus in 2017, repaying any remaining debt and banking a tidy sum.

Words of advice for brokers looking to grow

While Chris is the first to admit the industry is in a very different place in 2020, post-Royal Commission and mid-COVID pandemic, he would do it all over again. As a small business success story, does he have any advice for other brokers seeking to grow their business through acquisition?

Using borrowed money is a good way to acquire clients and build your business quite quickly. You have a warm opportunity to call which makes it so much easier than building a book from scratch. Would I buy a mortgage book right now? Absolutely yes, the multiples are good, even though the market has some unknowns after the Royal Commission.

Acquisitions done properly absolutely work. However, be ready for it to take far longer than you’d expect to work a client book effectively. Ultimately, you still have to win the hearts and minds of the clients. One of the biggest learnings from the financial planning industry is that they didn’t try to win the clients. You have to call and build relationships, be proactive and be positive. Building those relationships is everything.

Let us help

If you would like to find out about how we can help your business grow with our unique loan products for brokers and other white-collar professionals, please contact us on 1300 139 003 or at info@trailblazerfinance.com.au

Whether you’re a mortgage broker, financial planner, rent roll business owner, accountant or other cashflow business, we can understand and support your specific business goals and needs.

Contact us

Suite 401, Level 4, 59-75 Grafton Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022

1300 139 003

info@trailblazerfinance.com.au