How this broker thrives in the tough commercial space

Finding enjoyment in the diversity of dealing with a café owner looking to acquire a new POS system one day and a billionaire working on developing a property the next, The Alliance Group director Nicolas Jarvisto always felt his ability to think outside the square and find out-of-the-box solutions suited the commercial finance market.

“My business connections certainly leaned towards the commercial sector, so it was an organic transition to move my skillset to fit my clients’ needs,” Jarvisto told MPA. “There is so much ‘grey-space’ and negotiable criteria in finding a solution for clients in commercial lending.”

His ability to think innovatively is further challenged with the lenders’ appetites for various industries constantly changing. Jarvisto pointed out that residential assessment restrictions which increased dramatically over the past year are slowly being used in some commercial or asset finance transactions. Although a minor concern, the attitude of credit towards it is “generally a strong negative”.

“The ‘commerciality’ of getting a deal done in some instances is being hampered by overbearing red tape and compliance regulation. We are, however, getting increasingly better results by spending more time upfront and digging into every client’s history, and providing additional commentary for anything that is outside the usual,” Jarvisto said.

He added that at this moment when lender turnaround time is “appalling,” managing stakeholder expectations is key. Although, Jarvisto admits, it can be tricky if the client is used to getting approved after one to two days.

“Changing the mindset and culture will take some time,” he said.

Actively automates
Jarvisto had their Dynamics CRM tailored to suit the diverse needs of his business and to sufficiently service its commercial and equipment finance brokers. His team, which has grown to nine staff this year, uses the CRM system to set up reminders to contact clients when they should, particularly at certain periods during post settlement and pre-expiry.

With a background in software development, Jarvisto actively automates prompts, updates and notifications where possible, making their process in preparing applications and managing clients streamlined, concise and largely free from human error.

“We are constantly striving to enhance our service offering. We pride ourselves in getting to know our client, their business and their financial goals so we can create a plan to support them now and into the future,” Jarvisto said.

“By having this strong relationship, it allows us to review their existing loans regularly to ensure they are constantly being looked after when rates drop, or their circumstances change.”

His team also spends time spreading the value brokers provide to customers and how the broking segment keeps banks competitive via social media, referrers and client database.

Substantial pay off
According to Jarvisto, his team targets to establish The Alliance Group “with people on the ground in every state in Australia”. He is already in the process of branching out, with a network of brokers and referrers already planted throughout Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Tasmania and Toowoomba to support their clients who come from various industry backgrounds — from transport to medical and agriculture. Jarvisto’s team is currently setting up an office in Melbourne and negotiating to purchase a brokerage in Perth.

“We spent a substantial amount of time and effort to develop and market several sub-section brands, such as Alliance Truck Finance and Alliance Medical Finance, to align ourselves strongly with a particular industry,” Jarvisto said.

“This has paid off substantially with our biggest singular deal being $47m for the freehold and going concern of a multi-national hotel chain building.”