Top Independent Brokerages 2016 - 6 TRILOGY FUNDING

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Emerging from a tough year in investment lending, Trilogy is set to benefit from pent-up demand 

For Trilogy Funding, 2015 was a tough year, so tough that director David Thomas is slightly surprised to have moved up a place in MPA’s Top 10, having come seventh last year. A property investment specialist, Trilogy was very much caught in the eye of the storm when APRA and the banks decided to cut down on investor lending last year. Tougher serviceability criteria and LVRs have hit potential clients, Thomas explains. “[They’re] the ones that respond to our advertisements and marketing activities, who can do a transaction straight away.” 

Nevertheless, Trilogy has moved up a place and is planning to add three brokers to its team of five. Thomas believes the brokerage needs to adapt its approach, but he can see light at the end of the tunnel. “We need to take a more advisory role, and help clients understand what needs to be in place to make that next property purchase,” he says. “Maybe that means that we can’t write a loan right now, but we work with that client for 12–24 months in order to get that loan approved.” 

Trilogy has been one of the hardest-hit brokerages in this list, but is also among the best positioned. At the time of writing, several banks have just loosened their criteria for property investment, recognising, like Thomas, the level of pent-up demand from investors. 

“We’ve been taking names, phone numbers and email addresses of people that were just out of reach from a servicing and structuring perspective, and with these changes, and more changes to come, all of those people who we’ve got the details of, they’ll be able to make a purchase between the next 12–24 months,” Thomas says. 

Trilogy has therefore put in extra effort to market its property investment expertise: it has a bi-monthly newsletter and has adapted its Facebook promotions, explains Thomas. “We are trying to communicate more frequently, and on the level that potential clients want to be communicated with.” The number of subscribers to Trilogy’s newsletter – and the number of enquiries about consultations – has increased by 60–70% since APRA’s clampdown, Thomas estimates. 

Thomas manages costs through offshoring seven out of the 10 support staff in the brokerage. “They are our staff members and they only do our work,” he notes. “Unlike brokers that use Exsource, we have built our own offshore processing centre.” Thomas keeps detailed and real-time statistics on the performance of individuals and the brokerage as a whole. 

With a number of increasingly well-known Top 100 brokers on staff, Thomas has to do a balancing act. “The overall message has to be that Trilogy is that source of all knowledge,” he concludes. “The broker forms part of that larger organisation, and it’s that larger organisation the client does business with.”