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Australia’s Top 100 Brokers - 6 JOHN LAU

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6 JOHN LAU

N1 Finance & Lease,
Sydney, NSW
Total value of residential loans
FY 2014/15: $174,038,419
Total number of residential loans
FY 2014/15: 345

Even for top brokers, good support can make a huge difference, and John Lau is privileged to be head of sales at N1 Finance & Lease, an up-and-coming Sydney brokerage featured in our Top 10 Independent Brokerages report this year. For him, success is down to the team: “Experience counts, but I believe it’s not a one-man show: I need a good team to support my clients as well.”

That’s not just Lau’s generosity speaking: maintaining long-term relationships with customers – and thus benefiting from referrals – requires a huge number of hours. He argues: “It’s not a one-time thing; you have to follow up with them. Doing a home loan is not as simple as putting it in and getting it approved … I can’t do that for 10 clients a day – it’s impossible.” He believes a quality compliance, marketing and loan writing team is as important as the broker in keeping those good relationships going.

Lau’s clients are a mix of owner-occupiers and investors, and when it comes to getting them in the door, he again points out he’s not alone. “It really comes down to my referral network as well; you work with a couple of other industries, including accountants, real estate agents, solicitors; we work very closely with them.” Although N1 Finance has offices in Queensland and Victoria, 80% of Lau’s clients are Sydney-based, with much of the other 20% being foreign investors.

Over the past year, Lau’s clients have become increasingly concerned. “My volume has been slowing down a bit, mainly because of investment rules but also because of uncertainty. To be honest, with all the news about the whole global market, the share market, a lot of people are getting scared, and thinking ‘cash is king now’. The effect ... is that some clients are holding off from buying or investing; people are getting scared of spending money now.”

In response, Lau will be advertising and consulting with his referral network – real estate agents can tell you a lot about changing buyer appetites, he notes. One senses he relishes the challenge: “I’ve been a broker for three years; every day I come into the office and love what I’m doing.”