7 JACK WEI
Total value of residential loans
FY 2014/15: $166,857,000
Total number of residential loans
FY 2014/15: 306
A snappy company name isn’t the only advantage Jack Wei has as a broker; he’s a property investor specialist and an investor himself, he explains: “I’ve been investing for more than 14 years now.” Alongside Wei’s own experience, his brokerage is well established, having been in business since 2004, and perhaps no property market in Australia has changed more than Sydney in the intervening 11 years.
Rising house prices have certainly contributed to increasing volume, Wei points out, but he’s also seen an increase in the number of investors and refinancers using several different lenders. With 60–70% of business coming from investors, the brokerage is set up to offer more than standard broking services. “We have financial planners as well … I advise my clients to buy when their cash flow is right, look at the total portfolio.”
However, the past year hasn’t all been plain sailing for Wei, thanks to the regulators. “APRA and the Reserve Bank are mainly targeting the clients that I focus on,” he says, “especially people with three or more properties; they can’t borrow as much now.” The challenge is not so much changing LVRs but changes to serviceability. He adds: “My clients are all under 80%, but the issue is the income servicing calculator; they’re very strict with the buffer rate.” He expects regulatory action to die down, especially if the Sydney market corrects itself over the coming year.
There are six people working at Financial Genius, with Wei and three other brokers. While he has support staff to assist him, Wei continues to manage the business alongside broking. Surprisingly for an investment-centric brokerage, Financial Genius doesn’t have referral links with other professionals, preferring to rely on customer referrals and a client newsletter; Wei admits he’s “not really into sharing commission!”
“You need the passion to really enjoy this industry and love helping people.” Wei urges up-and-coming brokers: “[Don’t] do it for the volume or the money; you need to enjoy helping people grow their portfolio and wealth as well … people can see that and feel that. Don’t talk about rates all the time; sit down and plan ahead … It’s more about building a relationship or friendship; it’s not a single transaction.”