Broker: What planners have taught me

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Centric Wealth’s Stuart Turner is a broker that thinks his profession can learn a thing or two from financial planners.

WP: Do most of your leads come from existing financial planning clients?

Stuart Turner: I’ve got a loan book of $100m that was given to me from the lending department. Centric have also got a financial planning arm, so I’m aligned with planners there. At the moment we’ve got 50 financial planners under one umbrella under the Centric name. They’ve got a client base of around 3,000 clients. Working with the financial planners it’s definitely an eye-opener as to the different ways that you can use debt. Their clients are looking at debt consolidation, buying their next investment property – or they’re just looking for a better rate. But it’s not normally rate driven with the financial planning clients; it’s normally a holistic move. I’m not a rate-driven broker.

WP: Do financial planning clients have high expectations of you as a mortgage broker?

ST: We’re dealing with high net worth individuals that are on salaries that are well into six figures, so your level of knowledge and detail on the loan has got to be spot on. They are very demanding, but it’s also very rewarding. When you’re dealing with that client’s loan you’re not dealing with a vanilla loan.

WP: Does this mean employing a high-touch approach?

ST: Yes, especially through the transaction. High-quality customer service is going to bring in repeat business and keep that client for a long-term relationship. They’re also very rewarding in terms of
referring like-minded colleagues. We won’t churn a client from bank to bank; that’s not the way we do it. If there’s an opportunity to keep the client with their current lender and keep that relationship going, then we will – but if there is a better option out there, obviously we’ll look at it.

WP: Do you see brokers aligning with financial planners to be an ongoing trend?

ST: With NCCP [National Consumer Credit Protection] coming in, it’s now a highly regulated industry. So that’s got rid of a lot of the tyre kickers. I’m working with financial planners and the feedback I’m getting from those types of referrers is that our industry is getting more scrutinised and is not as loose as it used to be. Going forward I can see it growing and having more alliances with financial planners.

WP: Do you charge a fee?

ST: No. But I think in the future, with the way things are going, we could end up with a fee-for-service type scenario. It wouldn’t surprise me if it happened in three to five years’ time, with the way that we’re regulated and that brokers are becoming more professional. We want to see people in their twenties or thirties at university studying to become a mortgage broker like financial planners do – and get that recognition that it is a growing industry and a career option.