Based in Balwyn, VIC
CEO: Daniel Di Conza
Changing a brokerage takes time – 18 months, in the case of Melbourne’s Acceptance Finance. Back
in 2013, the brokerage implemented some major changes, says CEO Daniel Di Conza. “What we did was change our business model so we were all pulling in the same direction. The results we see this year are a direct reflection of the changes we made.”
One part of the shift was changing brokers’ incentives, standardising
commission splits. “What that meant was there was no preferential treatment for any type of client,” Di Conza explains.
They also provided all overheads, such as administrative staff and office premises. “We got rid of all the paperwork,” Di Conza says. “We used to have a system where everyone got invoiced for services. [Now], we’ve got a process and a system that every advisor has to adhere to. What that led to was a massive increase in efficiency for our back-office team; they went from being able to process $50m a year to $100m.” They now have three client services personnel for their team of 12 loan writers, and “they’re all incentivised in the same way, conflict almost evaporated, which is interesting given we’ve got so many people”.
Acceptance Finance gets around half of their leads from referral links – accountants, financial planners, property professionals – who are situated all
over Australia, so naturally their clients are also nationwide. “Geographical location isn’t a major issue,” Di Conza says. “The only challenge is when you have a lender that wants you to see the clients’ IDs.”
Getting clients from referral sources means Acceptance Finance need to offer several types of finance – “refinance, funds for their business, buying a business, any myriad number of services”, according to Di Conza, only half of which are property purchases. Although some referral partners put forward similar types of clients, having a good blend of referral partners results in a varied client base.
“We continually evolve,” Di Conza says; the staff have quarterly meetings to discuss the brokerage’s strategy, which helps keep it constant. “Our biggest success has been cultural – getting everyone on the same page,” Di Conza adds. “We’ve spent six years on staff education, on being authentic … we’ve got a culture where people are comfortable saying what they think, and their ability to work in a team has improved by leaps and bounds.”