3. Shore Financial

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One of only three brokerages to have made it back into the Top 10 Brokerages list for a second year running, and the only one to move up in the rankings, Shore Financial settled the highest value of loans of all the brokerages.

Despite having only been in business for seven years, it also has the second-highest total loan book value. CEO Theo Chambers says the brokerage's growth and success have been down to a continuing change in direction and strategy, now with a heavier focus on online. Rather than relying on the majority of its business coming through referral partners, Shore Financial has shifted to encouraging business through its online shop.

“Now only 30% is referred by agents and the rest is a combination of word of mouth from raving fans and a result of our marketing initiatives, some measured and tracked by generating leads and some purely brand awareness,” Chambers says.

Facing the same challenges as the rest of the industry following the royal commission last year, with lower morale and a tough property market, Chambers says it was optimism that gave the team the strength and momentum to ride it out.

The group used its periods of lower volumes to hone its support team and infrastructure to ensure it was ready to handle the extra capacity when things picked up again, which they did after APRA dropped the assessment rates and the RBA cut interest rates.

In the current environment, the brokerage is focusing on improving the capacity and efficiency of its broker team, while also improving resources for both new and existing brokers. Its dedicated training officers, ongoing mentor support and detailed induction program all aim to bring novices into the industry.

“We hired four brokers recently, all of which have been our best new starters to date, with stronger results than ever before, and this is due to the resources and support they now have,” Chambers says.

He says the whole team is built upon culture and relationships. Based in one North Sydney o­ ce, every team member is driven by “success and teamwork”.

“We have been really lucky in growing our team via an attraction model that is underpinned by these values. It has promoted a very cohesive environment with stream-lined beliefs and approach to operation,” he says.

Chambers’ advice to other brokerages is to identify their strengths and weaknesses and then operate within those boundaries.

“Finding your marketplaces and why you succeed in those marketplaces is imperative to growth,” he says. “A lot of brokerages spread their e‑ orts too broadly and try taking on as much as they possibly can when they would be far better off narrowing their efforts to a specific area where they have proven their success already.”

Total loan book: $32,023,332,020
Total settlements, 1 March 2019 – 29 February 2020: $1,066,524,760
Number of loan writers: 20
Avg. annual volume/broker: $53,326,238
Conversion rate: 42%