Industry divided on convergence: poll

Only 29 per cent of Mortgage Business readers believe mortgage brokers can also be financial planners.

The remaining 71 per cent of the 457 readers polled do not believe brokers can also provide financial advice.

The findings come at a time when an increasing number of mortgage groups and financial planning businesses are converging as the industry looks to capitalise on the benefits of diversification.

While some brokers are also financial advisers, the majority of broker groups that have diversified into financial planning keep each business separate.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, Astute Financial director Brad Wood said that while his multi-service company provides both mortgage broking and financial advice, both businesses operate independently.

“They have their own management structures and they have their own cost centres,” Mr Wood said.

“What we are looking to create is the opportunity for clients to have a one-stop shop where they can come in and talk about their mortgage with a professional mortgage broker,” he said.

“They can talk about their requirements in equipment finance or commercial lending with an experienced and qualified equipment finance or commercial lending broker.

“If they want to talk about insurance or wealth creation, those are completely separate disciplines that require different skill sets and different training and understanding.”

Mr Wood has been quick to point out that Astute is not a business where customers visit a broker who can also provide them with insurance and wealth advice.

“I don’t think you can be an expert in everything,” he said.

“You need to specialise in a certain area but then have access and availability to refer to other professionals in other disciplines to make sure your clients are getting the same level of professionalism that you are providing in your discipline.”

Yellow Brick Road chief executive Matt Lawler told Mortgage Business last month that mortgage broking is a ‘sub-segment’ of financial planning, sparking a reaction from a national brokerage.

Mortgage Choice chief executive Michael Russell dismissed the idea.

Astute’s Mr Wood said there is “no way” that someone who specialises in mortgages has got time to devote to a discipline like planning.

“How can you do both to the best of your ability?” he said. “It doesn’t work.”

 

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