MPA: What’s led to your success over the past year?
Gerard Tiffen: It’s a few things we implemented about 24 months ago, probably. We started getting a mentor program going, sort of out of the Weight Watchers philosophy where a bunch of people sit around a room and have to weigh themselves in front of each other. So it’s an accountability sort of thing, and we’re a little more open than we had been. We started getting together and seeing what the sales figures were, so far. That’s all I can put it down to, and it just sort of kicked along from there.
MPA: Why did you decide to go the independent route rather than joining a franchise system?
GT : Well, when I started doing this it just wasn’t established. Aussie Home Loans didn’t have franchises, and Mortgage Choice was just sort of starting out. I initially just started writing loans for Westpac. I never had the opportunity to get into a franchise system. If I was starting out now, there’s no other way I would go. I’d be Mortgage Choice or Aussie, and use their systems and processes. I had to develop all that myself.
MPA: Have you diversified outside residential mortgages?
GT : I’ve stuck with residential mortgages, because it’s what I’m good at. I don’t understand financial planning and I don’t want to get involved. I know when I do a mortgage I can offer the client the best product. There seems to be a strong push toward financial planning in this industry, but the people I’ve seen doing it, do it poorly. I do have a referral relationship with a financial planner, but I don’t try to handle that in-house, and why would I? I’m settling good figures and doing well.