Jeremy Fisher isn’t fazed by regulatory turmoil as he restructures his brokerage in preparation for growth
For 15 years 1st Street has been slowly growing and developing, but the model has remained relatively unchanged, until now. Previously, managing director Jeremy Fisher oversaw a team of brokers writing mainly residential loans with a minimal support structure. But this year the brokerage made a huge change, he explains. “We’ve brought on a COO, and his role is to look after our broker relationships and look at bringing on new brokers.”
Ofer Greenberg is 1st Street’s new COO, coming from a background in private banking at ANZ. “He’s out on the road working with some large organisations to set up additional referral opportunities,” Fisher says. The COO will also work on recruiting new brokers.
It’s a change Fisher has wanted to make for some time. “Now instead of going home at midnight I can go home at 9pm,” he quips. “It enables me to spend time on the business and on helping brokers … it’s taken a great deal off my shoulders, but the flipside is it means business growth, so I can’t take my finger off the pulse, that’s for sure.”
Over the past year 1st Street has brought on a second financial planner as the brokerage diversifies into planning, insurance and commercial lending. “We’re seeing more clients being introduced into the insurance space and conversion is a lot higher than in previous years,” Fisher says. Commercial lending is bringing new clients to the brokerage, while the rate of home loan clients taking out insurance is increasing. 1st Street is expanding nationally, with brokers being recruited in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, taking the overall count to 16–17 within 12 months, Fisher predicts.
These changes aren’t, however, a response to lending restrictions. “If anything I feel these changes have made the broker proposition even more valuable,” Fisher says. “It’s almost impossible for a client now to be able to go and understand what exact rate they’re entitled to, based on their requirements.”
While Fisher isn’t “overly enthused” by the Sedgwick review’s call for flat fees, which would hit 1st Street as a Sydney-based brokerage, he doesn’t anticipate any immediate changes. “I’m confident that the broker space and proposition is for the long term, and I’m equally confident with all these reviews that common sense will prevail … at this point not knowing what is to come, I’m one of those glass-half-full people.”