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Sponsored by: Mortgage Professional Australia’s ranking of the Top Commercial Brokers of 2023 recognises the outstanding achievement of high-performing and ambitious professionals, more than half of whom are relative newcomers to the industry with five years or less of experience.
Of the Top 30 best commercial mortgage brokers this year, 80% did not appear on MPA’s 2022 winners’ list.
“I think it’s great to see the younger people come through and have their day in the sun,” notes Matthew Atkin, managing director at Atlas Broker and president of the Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia (CAFBA). “It probably gives the more experienced brokers a little spear-on to beat them next year.”
The Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia’s data (from 21 October to March 2022) shows significant growth in the value of commercial loans settled by Australia’s mortgage brokers – its highest ever with over $17bn for an uptick of 28.65% compared year over year.
According to Atkin, Australia’s best commercial brokers share the following attributes:
The best commercial brokers deliver outstanding results, enabling their clients to achieve their goals promptly. For winner David R. Sutantyo, founder and director at the independent, four-broker-strong Twelve Grains Capital in Sydney, swift service can mean the difference between a client’s success and failure.
Sutantyo’s finance brokerage specialises in non-bank lending with a private lending arm, seeking to gain an advantage over the competition with its speed-to-solution advantage.
The bulk of his firm’s revenue comes from small to medium-sized businesses, which turn over between $1m and $15m a year.
“We can promise we will find a solution within 10 minutes of having a chat; we ask the right questions, package it as we speak, and we know who to take it to and how to set the exit strategy,” he explains.
Sutantyo details a 10-minute solution for a recent deal with an engineering company:
Sutantyo, who ranked no. 29 by the total value of settlements, adds, “They beat all their competitors because they got the funding first, executed the project, were in a more preferable position to the banks, and they have a stronger business portfolio now.”
Fellow awardee Stuart Morrow showed grit to succeed when he co-founded finance brokerage Central West Finance Solutions in Dubbo, an NSW regional centre.
“We kicked off in the middle of lockdown in August 2021, so we thought that was challenging,” recalls Morrow, who has 35 years of broking experience. “But it didn’t really knock us around too much. We recruited well. My business partner and I have large networks, and we have a strong referral base, which sets us apart.”
Morrow received the additional distinction in this year’s Top Commercial Brokers rankings of having the highest number of commercial loans settled at 201 (and ranked no. 24 by the total value of settlements). That’s a testament to his adaptability and business philosophy of assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs in rural areas.
“We do lots of little deals and loans. We don’t specialise in one or two areas; we do the lot,” he adds. “That’s our mindset; a lot of the banks don’t care about the little fellas, whereas we’ve always been of the opinion that someone has to look after the little guys.”
“It’s been a pretty good year for a lot of people,” observes CAFBA’s Atkin, adding that aspiring Top Commercial Brokers should master the fundamentals.
“It’s a simple game, but focus on the basics, and if you do that well, everything takes care of itself,” he adds. “In my experience, you treat your clients, your team, your staff and your funders with respect. Do this well, and your business grows.”
That advice hits home with awardee Andrew Soo, director at GM Capital Solutions in Chatswood, NSW, who ranked no. 25 by the total value of settlements. He credits his first-time MPA recognition with his early banking industry experience, which laid the foundation for understanding credit and lending principles.
“It’s about getting that good education through the major banks, learning about business, relationships and the capital markets,” he notes. “And then being on the front lines helps me engage with customers at all levels, whether it’s business or corporate. I’m dealing with their advisors, their accountants, and their lawyers and putting that all together.”
The Top Commercial Brokers of 2023 are an inspiration to others who may have been discouraged by a struggling economy.
“The challenge with closing any of our transactions, especially the larger commercial ones, is finding the best solution for the customer in a challenging environment such as this because it’s more difficult to get a large range of options,” Soo adds. “There’s more work, more meetings and more analysis on the projects. So, trying to find the right solution is generally the hardest part.”
Boutique brokerage and property advisory Simplicity Loans & Advisory is home to five of the Top 30 Commercial Brokers, including Jean-Pierre Gortan, managing director of SLA Group. He ranks no. 1 with just under $695m in total loan settlement value and 71 total commercial loans settled.
Isabella Constantinou, associate director, received her second award as a Top Commercial Broker in her five-year tenure with the company and was also the only woman on the list; she ranked no. 10 by the total value of settlements. Last year, she achieved the coveted Top Broker title.
“As such an outlier, I see this as a huge opportunity for me to develop my brand and really succeed in this industry,” remarks Constantinou. “It’s given me a fire and drives my motivation and ambition to grow and develop.”
Constantinou is no stranger to workshopping various options until she finds the optimum solution on behalf of her client.
“A good strategy can sometimes go across three or four different lenders that ultimately give the client the money that they need,” she adds.
Reflecting on the lessons of the “tough environment” of 2022’s latter half, when the pool of lenders shrank in the non-bank and private space because of liquidity issues, Top Commercial Broker Constantinou notes the following:
La Trobe Financial officially congratulates Mortgage Professional Australia’s Top Commercial Brokers for 2023.
This prestigious list recognises the highest-performing brokers and highlights their contributions to the industry and within their own communities. As the industry’s top performers, these brokers set a benchmark of excellence that deserves to be celebrated, especially in the context of this turbulent, rising interest rate environment.
At La Trobe Financial, strong broker partnerships have always been key to our success. For more than 70 years, we have been proud of the relationships that have been established with our broker partners, all of which have helped us to lead the market and continue to lend through recessions, periods of high inflation, the GFC, regulation changes and most recently, the pandemic.
Congratulations once again to the Top Commercial Brokers for their significant achievement, and we wish them continued success.
Chief Lending Officer
La Trobe Financial
Best Commercial Mortgage Brokers in Australia | Top Commercial Brokers 2023 – Listing in order
To find and recognise the Top Commercial Brokers for 2023, MPA invited brokers from across the country to submit their ﬁgures from the past year. The online form asked for details such as the total value of commercial loans settled, the number of commercial loans settled and the proportion of loans in the following areas: commercial real estate, equipment and asset ﬁnance, SME lending, debtor ﬁnance, unsecured business lending and development ﬁnance.
Brokers also supplied information such as the number of support staff on their team, their number of years as a commercial broker and their aggregator details. Aggregators were then required to verify the details submitted.
The ﬁnal ranking of the Top 30 brokers was based on the total value of commercial loans they wrote during the 12-month period.