When you're first starting out in business as a broker, you are wowed by how great all the aggregators are. They all promise to be the best and when you speak to their brokers, most of them say they are great also.
So, are all aggregators really that great? Do you choose one by throwing darts at a board or is it that most brokers are loyal and really don't have much to compare their aggregator with?
Let’s be honest: aggregators aren’t going to advertise their weaknesses when trying to recruit new brokers. Most brokers are introduced to the business through another channel, such as being recruited by other brokers, so they would not really be shopping for aggregators.
So what happens when a loan writer decides to spread their wings and leave the nest?
The logical answer is to stay with the existing aggregator – you know the people, software and it’s a relatively simple transition. It’s easy to choose this avenue but you could be missing a bigger opportunity to grow your business.
So what is the purpose of the aggregator and what separates one from another? What questions do you ask and what are the most important factors when deciding on the right aggregator?
I have pieced together a list of factors that I think are the most important.
1. Commission structures: aggregators have different commission structures with different brokers and groups, eg. flat fee versus a percentage. In most cases, this could be the deciding factor. It’s a business decision after all. Should you also consider your ability to charge customers fees?
2. Technology: which platform is the best in terms of ease of processing and functionality? Are you able to track your pipeline and service your customers to the highest level with ease?
3. What’s the culture?: Being a broker can be a lonely business so what warm and fuzzy support are you getting? Does the aggregator have a presence in your city? Do you go to conferences and question if you’re at the snob show or are you dealing with real people? Can you ring another broker and ask for help without being judged? Does the leadership team know you by face and name? These things can make or break a broker’s experience with an aggregator.
4. Marketing: this is a big one. Do you market the aggregator’s own brand or do you create your own? Also, what’s the support here? What are they offering, for what price and how fast is it available?
5. Education and legal: is your aggregator keeping you up to date with all the latest in the industry? Are you compliant, have you got your CPD up to date and are you being assisted with growing your business? Will your aggregator assist with training your new staff?
6. Diversity: does your aggregator have partnerships with other related professional organisations that allow you to diversify your business such as insurance, financial planning, accounting, and real estate?
7. The panel and ownership: do you really have access to all the lenders or are you restricted or have targets on who you write with? Is the company private, public or owned by an institution which may influence your advice to customers?
For the most part, everyone is going to have different ideas about what is important to them and there will always be an aggregator that suits their needs.
I’d like to hear what you like about your aggregator, who they are and what makes them great.