New Zealand’s mortgage adviser industry has experienced significant changes over the past several years, with regulatory overhauls and the COVID-19 pandemic forcing advisers to adapt like they never have before. However, the doom-and-gloom forecast for the mortgage sector in March 2020 never eventuated, and advisers have come out this year performing stronger than ever, hitting record settlement figures and helping thousands of clients take the next step in their property journeys.
NZ Advisers’ Top Advisers ranking is now in its fifth year. The list has grown substantially, with advisers from across the country nominating themselves and their high-performing colleagues for a place in the ranking.
The 2021 list ranks nominees by the amount they settled in residential loans from 1 May 2020 to 31 April 2021. The highest-performing adviser is Loan Market’s Cameron Marcroft, closely followed by Paulette Trotter of Trolly Financial Services. At third place is Aseem Agarwal of Global Financial Services.
A solid strategy
Commenting on the success of his business, Marcroft says his focus is always on his clients and helping them improve their financial situation. He explains that referral networks are also key to building up a solid book, as is maintaining a strong online brand presence.
“The best advice I’ve ever gotten is don’t focus on the numbers – focus on the people, and the numbers will sort themselves out,” Marcroft says.
“We focus a lot on the ongoing management of our clients’ lending by trying to help them reduce their debt as quickly as possible to ultimately give them more equity for future wealth creation. We also have a strong focus on our referral partners, making sure to reciprocate any business they send our way.”
“We use Facebook and LinkedIn for our social media platforms, and we have a person in the team who runs that for the business,” he adds.
“We make sure our online brand presence is constantly updated so we stay relevant to our audience. We are constantly improving the way we do things by using the latest technology to streamline our processes and save time.”
Marcroft says watching his business grow and seeing his hard work pay off has been immensely rewarding, and his goal for the next few years is to drive that growth further.
“A high point for me has definitely been the rapid success of the business,” he says.
“Every year we always seem to smash what we set out to do – it blows me away, and I believe it’s all down to the team I have supporting me.
“My goal for the business over the next 12–18 months with our new structure in place is to be writing $500m a year in mortgages and building a sound and robust business that is creating a successful career pathway for all our staff.”
Scott Jackson, adviser and franchise owner at Mike Pero Mortgages, echoes the sentiment on absolute client focus and says that communication and ongoing personal development are also vital to success in the industry.
“My advice is to give every client 100%,” Jackson says.
“I try not to pre-qualify clients over the phone – I prefer to set up a meeting and find out what they need help with face-to-face. This means I go into every meeting without any preconceived ideas, so I have to fully engage with every client.
“My next tip would be to communicate, communicate, communicate. Keeping clients updated – even when there isn’t any update available – reminds them you are focused on getting them the result they need.”
“Also, look after your lenders – we can’t do this job without our lenders, so building healthy, respectful relationships with the banks and providers is crucial to our success,” he adds.
“And finally, keep learning. In this constantly evolving industry, it’s critical we are the subject-matter experts, so read every bank email, review policy documents and ask lots of questions of BDMs and assessors.”
Earning clients’ trust
Regarding her favourite part of being an adviser, Prosperity Finance managing director Connie Wang says a huge motivation for her is simply the clients’ level of trust. She also notes that the lack of cost to the client for the advice is one of the main factors that makes the mortgage adviser industry unique when it comes to value.
“When I deal with clients, they put a lot of trust in me, and it’s a privilege to help them to purchase their biggest asset,” Wang says.
“Even if those clients are successful in their own fields, if they don’t work in the finance industry, it can be very overwhelming. So, when they allow me to guide them through the process step by step, and when we can see how we’ve helped them into home ownership or into property investing, that gives me huge satisfaction.
“The great thing is also that it’s free for them. There is no other profession or industry that doesn’t charge clients for their service, but because we get paid by the lender, we are able to do that – and that’s amazing,” she adds.
Knowledge and dedication
Loan Market adviser Nathan Miglani says the primary drivers of his success are his finance background and deep knowledge of lender policies, which have enabled him to assess an application and offer advice at a fast pace.
To hit the top figures, Miglani says that discipline and dedication are vital, and if one has a strong calendar and work structure in place, the results will speak for themselves.
“The key to adviser success is quickly assessing and screening an application, and then giving the client your impression of whether the loan is likely to be approved or not,” he says.
“I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve spent a lot of personal time checking bank policies on a regular basis, just to make sure that I’m personally up to speed with everything that’s happening with all of the banks and non-bank lenders. So, when I sit with a client in a meeting, I know exactly what lender will work best, and if the client isn’t ready, I know what needs to be done to make them ready in a month, two months or six months.”
“This is a wonderful and challenging industry,” Miglani continues.
“I think everyone can write $50–$100m, but when you start thinking about over $200m, you need to be extremely disciplined and brutal with your diary and make sure that you have a strong structure in place.
“In my team, we call ourselves the All Blacks of the business because of our discipline and dedication to the client, and the way we make sure that our clients can rely on us and feel that they’re really connected with the whole team.”
NZ Adviser congratulates those who made the ranking this year and thanks the industry for its high-quality nominations.
In May, NZ Adviser launched a call for nominations for its fifth annual Top Advisers report. To be ranked alongside New Zealand’s broking elite, advisers had to provide their contact details, along with the total value of residential loans they settled from 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021.
Advisers were also asked to provide the names and contact details of their aggregators. All of these aggregators were contacted for verification as part of the ranking process, and only fully verified figures were accepted for the final ranking.
During the four-week nomination period, NZ Adviser received a significant number of responses from advisers nationwide. After reviewing the nominations, the NZ Adviser team selected 51 top performers for the 2021 Top Advisers list. The list took into account residential loans only, and the advisers were ranked in order of the highest amount of residential loans settled within the specified period.