Mortgage brokers seek trusting relationship with planners - Money Management Magazine (8 February 2010)

8 February 2010 - Money Management Magazine

Mortgage brokers will increasingly look to join with financial planners as their industries converge.

The chief executive of newly-formed mortgage aggregator group Vow Financial, Jeff Zulman, said the longer-term goal for the group would be to diversify the business into the broader financial services sector, offering non-mortgage products and advice.

Vow has more than 900 brokers and $16 billion in loans under management, and Zulman said extensive consultation with brokers has revealed that they are increasingly being asked by their clients where to go for good financial advice.

"In talking to our mortgage brokers, a number of them are identifying and recognising that the worlds (of mortgage brokers and financial planners) are converging," he said. "(The Australian Securities and Investments Commission) is going to regulate both of them and increasingly they are going to be subjected to the same types of rules. And when that happens, mortgage brokers are going to be able to sell products and make recommendations depending on their training and skill base."

Zulman said those brokers are looking to offer financial planning services themselves, having someone in their practice with those skills or having a good relationship with a planner to whom they can refer their clients.

Zulman said in response to this need, Vow is creating a structure and identifying where they can find targeted wealth accumulator-focused financial planners, not necessarily at the high-net-worth level.

He said that structure would help facilitate those relationships, whether it is through shared equity or having like-minded financial planners join the group.

Macquarie Bank holds a 20 per cent interest in the group and Zulman said it would be leveraging the group's experience to develop Vow in that direction.

"They bring the experience of being able to put together these structures, and they've already demonstrated that to us by helping us bring this (Vow) deal together," he said.

Zulman does not see their ambition as a threat to financial planning dealer groups as their focus is slightly different.

"The financial planners that we are talking to are in the wealth accumulation phase - their clients have bought their homes and investment properties, and they haven't yet retired," he said. "They are still in that phase where they are earning an income and putting that money away to grow their investment base."