When Tag Financial Group was founded in 2006, it was with the goal of becoming a ‘one-stop shop’ for all the financial needs of its customers. This was further solidified the following year when TAG Wealth Solutions began operations.
The brokerage offers a combination of expertise in finance and financial planning, providing a tailored experience to each individual client and focusing on longer-term strategies to ensure investment growth and financial stability.
The three founders of TAG had varying levels of experience when they started the business. Tony Herbert had been in financial services for 25 years, with two in broking, Andrew Browne had been in the industry for three years, and Glen Austen was at the very beginning of his successful finance career.
“Our goal is to provide consistent high-level service to our clients, ensuring that they have peace of mind that all their financial matters are well managed,” says Browne.
Browne joined the broking industry in 2003 after seven years in advertising and marketing. When he first experienced the services of a finance broker while going through the process of buying a home, he says his “passion for the industry was immediate”.
“I thought a business in the emerging finance broking industry could benefit from my existing skill set – all I needed to do was learn the job,” Browne says.
He started by undertaking a two-and-a-half-year mentor ship in a busy Perth mortgage broking office, where he says there was no shortage of leads in what was then a hot market.
Fifteen years on, the WA market has been through more highs and some lows too. But Browne says that true to its ‘boom and bust’ reputation, the broking industry has ridden those ups and downs.
Recently, the WA property market has been a little flat, and the brokerage has had to pivot to remain relevant. Browne says that rather than buying new homes, people are instead looking to renovate and buy things like new pools. While they had not written personal loans before, TAG’s brokers adapted to keep up with their clients’ needs.
A lot of the work done over the past year was also around maintenance and being there for clients who were genuinely concerned.
Things are starting to change, though.
“Thankfully, right now all signs are that we are starting to feel a real swell in the market, and fingers crossed the waves start to role in and we can enjoy a prosperous five years ahead,” he says.
As Browne and the team look ahead to the next 12 to 18 months, he says diversification and a more digital approach are “without a doubt” the business’s key focuses.
Even before COVID-19, TAG had tried to engage with customers over Zoom, but it was not until 2020 when people were forced to adopt online processes that it really took off.
Browne says even the more traditional brokers have moved to virtual calls, and the group has seen a growth in consumer confidence and broker efficiency.
Beyond the digital, 2020 saw many other changes, such as to lender policy and regulations. Despite working remotely, the team at TAG stayed in touch and up to date with regular training sessions twice a month.
“It was interesting trying to keep the sessions exciting, but we used a couple of platforms where we’d have personalities dial in so we could get everyone engaged in the call,” Browne explains.
The team would be joined by AFL stars and other sports personalities who would be briefed on what the session was about so they could come in and talk about how it tied into their fields – whether it involved adapting to new regulations or working in a new way.
Browne commends the team at TAG for adapting in such a positive manner, particularly with the increased levels of work and having to learn to do things differently.
Despite the challenges, the TAG Financial team continue to work towards the group’s purpose, which Browne says centres on trust – earned through honesty, transparency, and respect; accountability – in owning and valuing one’s responsibilities; and greatness– what the team strive for, for their clients and themselves, by living their values and delivering their purpose.
GIVING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD
TAG Financial Group has been built around the philosophy that in order to move forward in business, you need to give back. This vision is something it takes very seriously, says co-founder and director Andrew Browne. Through that vision it has been able to make a difference to the lives of communities both in Australia and abroad.
Since 2015, TAG has raised more than $250,000 for charity. In 2020, the team raised more than $111,000 in just a few hours at the group’s 12th annual TAG 1% lunch. The money was donated to support Heart Kids WA and Nakuru Hope Kenya.
“We ‘give back’ through our programs because we want to make a meaningful difference to our local community and to those who are less fortunate than ourselves all around the world,” says Browne. “Despite being a small firm, we believe we can make a big difference.”