Former All Black Mils Muliaina now a financial adviser

Rugby talk precedes mortgage discussion, he says

Former All Black Mils Muliaina now a financial adviser

Mils Muliaina is honing the skills that he has developed from his longstanding involvement in rugby, to help Kiwis to become homeowners.

The former All Black fullback, who represented New Zealand from 2003 to 2011, is now director of The Mortgage Hub, a business that provides advice on mortgages and insurance.

Founded by Muliaina and his ex-banker friend and business partner Vinnie McClafferty in 2019, the business, which employs seven people, is based in the West Auckland suburb of Avondale.

Speaking to NZ Adviser, Muliaina (pictured above), who has also taken on various rugby commentator roles offered to him during and after his retirement from professional rugby, said that many Kiwis were unaware that he had become a qualified financial adviser.

While he enjoyed “meeting new people from all walks of life,” Muliaina said that the most rewarding part of helping people with their mortgage needs was getting those who never realised they’d be in a position to own a home “over the line”.

“Just helping people get to that pre-approval, and then from the pre-approval right through to purchasing their own house, to going over and visiting,” Muliaina said.

Buying his first home soon after he started playing, Muliaina slowly built a property portfolio and used his experience to help a couple of his peers along the way.

While he started studying to become a chiropractor, Muliana said that although he didn’t set out to become a mortgage adviser, that was how things naturally progressed.

Having the rugby background, involvement in various leadership groups and having been captain of the All Blacks have helped, not only in gaining trust but also in relating to what people currently have on their minds, he said.

Rugby kick-starts conversations, Muliaina says

Muliaina, who describes becoming an All Black for the first time and being part of the Rugby World Cup in 2011 as among the highlights of his professional rugby career, said that rugby served as an easy icebreaker when talking to clients about their financial situation.

“Obviously we live in a rugby-mad country and when you’re talking to someone about their mortgages, you’re often spending a lot of time initially talking about the weekend’s rugby game,” Muliaina said.

Skills are transferable, says former All Black

Muliaina said that the organisational and motivational skills he developed while playing for the All Blacks now served him well as a business owner, as did his ability to manage his time well.

In rugby, the ability to provide advice to teammates and drive and motivate them to get out there is important, and being a business owner is no different, he said.  When sitting in front of clients, empathy is another important skill.

“I’ve found that some of the skills that I learned in my rugby days are those that people in business (and in life) don’t actually get to learn,” Muliaina said. “They transition really well to life after rugby … it’s something that I’m very fortunate to be able to have.”

For those who weren’t in a financial position to become homeowners just yet, Muliaina said that goal setting could be useful to help them move to the next stage.

“It’s about guiding them through the right way and setting some goals for them so that one day they can get themselves into a position to buy,” he said.

Stressors between the two fields considered different

In rugby, a player can go out and play the worst game ever and have time to up their game, turning their performance around the following week.

But for a mortgage adviser, the stressors can be more constant, such as waiting for a bank to respond to an application and dealing with policy changes, he said.

“In business and mortgages, it’s an ongoing thing, because you’re feeling the same thing that your clients are feeling … you’re riding that wave at the same time,” Muliaina said.

The Mortgage Hub, which initially focused primarily on first home buyers, including those of Māori and Pacific Island descent, is helping people with both mortgages and refinances and is adding insurance advice to the areas of expertise it provides to clients.  

Over the next six to 12 months, Muliaina intends to lean on his experience further, shifting his focus to work on the business itself.  Keeping everyone motivated and working towards targets will be important, and equally, it’s important that the team has some fun, he said.

While economic conditions had put some Kiwis off buying their own home, Muliaina said that people wanted to have that conversation and realised that they could buy even though interest rates were elevated.

“Get to know what you need to know … sit in front of a mortgage adviser, understand your situation and whether you are in a position to buy,” Muliaina said.

“A mortgage adviser will be able to tell you things that you do need to work on or better still, you may be in a position to push go straight away.”

What skills can a former All Black bring to the role of mortgage adviser?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.