A look back at a 2016 Top 100 broker

As Australia’s No. 1 brokerage, The Australian Lending & Investment Centre has had no shortage of summit appearances, interviews and exposure in recent years.

What’s occasionally forgotten is ALIC is not a one-man band; in fact ALIC has three brokers in this year’s Top 100, with brokerage co-founder Kevin Agent ranking fourth in the Top 10 and bringing his own version of the brokerage’s investor-centred approach.

ALIC’s structure is akin to a web, with a broker sitting at the middle, referring clients to other specialists as part of a holistic investment strategy. “I see our role not as lenders but as educators,” Agent explains.

“We should be teaching our clients how to borrow properly, put them in contact with the right people, and when we’ve done all that, at the end of the process, out pops a loan. The loan should be the last thing that happens, but most brokers make it the
first thing that happens.”

This approach does take up a lot of time, even on lower net worth clients, and so freeing up the broker’s time is vital. This means bringing in support whenever possible, Agent says.

“Our role is to do the strategy and structure, and once we can’t add any more to the client in terms of processing … we push it off to someone who’s much better at processing.” He has one EA and one analyst and is looking at getting another analyst to cope with rising volumes.

Moreover, Agent also has access to the resources of the brokerage: a 15-strong back office, plus the expertise of other expert brokers – and the brokerage is constantly hiring (and firing).

"Historically, within this business what we’ve always said is, if we find the right person and they’re a good fit for the business, we’ll find a role for them, but if we can’t find the right person we won’t appoint for the sake of appointing,” Agent explains.

Finding the right people is difficult, nevertheless, as the pace of ALIC – investment brokers are expected to write $80m a year – is too much for many to handle. Ultimately, while the numbers are important for Agent, he believes that a broker’s role needs to be broader.

“It’s different to banking: for me, these are relationship roles; they’re not just flogging products.”

This article was included in MPA's 2016 Top 100 Broker list. 

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