The Australian Lending & Investment Centre
Total value of residential loans FY2017/18: $159,588,749
Total number of residential loans FY2017/18: 446
Before he entered broking nine years ago, Kevin Agent was working as a banker. That gave him a unique perspective on these two distinct yet interrelated worlds, while also providing him with the skill set to compete in the modern broking environment.
“Most of us at The Australian Lending & Investment Centre are ex-bankers, so we utilise the same sort of structures and disciplines from our old lives,” Agent says. “Since day one we’ve been process-driven, and we’ve moved further in that direction.”
With the business expanded to 45 staff , it’s clear that establishing strong support structures early on has yielded long-term results. It’s an approach Agent advises young brokers starting out to adopt as well.
“One-man-band operations still need support functions behind them, but the problem is they often don’t want to pay for it,” Agent says. “That’s fi ne for a while, but if the market changes it could expose them drastically. Spend the dollars and invest in resources that will help you achieve long-term growth.”
This year marks Agent’s third year in the Top 10, moving up from seventh place in 2017. Over the past year, he’s been focused on educating clients about changes in the market and making sure they don’t overcommit themselves. “The younger generation doesn’t know what a recession is, and that scares me a bit. Interest rates won’t stay this way forever; we will eventually have some sort of cleaning out of the economy. Our responsibility is to guide our clients responsibly.”
Sometimes that involves talking a client down from a $1m loan so they don’t end up in debt for the rest of their lives. He says they need to understand the implications a change in circumstances may have.
Additional regulations and increasingly cautious banks have brought a whole new set of complications to the field.
“It’s a hell of a lot harder than it was,” Agent says. “Deals are much more complex, and the skill base in the banks has been diluted too, which means it’s tougher to get deals through. There’s a much higher rate of exceptions.”
Nonetheless, Agent remains optimistic about future prospects.
“Most clients are in pretty strong positions,” he says. “Investors will buy in a downward or upward market – the worst market is an indecisive market.”