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Why commercial space is where this broker wants to be

With 45 years of combined commercial lending experience, the Simplicity Finance & Advisory (Simplicity) management team made a conscious decision this year to stop actively offering home lending services. Instead, the 2019 NextGen.Net New Brokerage of the Year winner decided to focus on the market segment they are most passionate about.

“The commercial space is the place to be at present,” said managing director Jean-Pierre Gortan. “It’s not surprising but considering the regulatory changes in the industry of the last, say, 18 months, we have seen our business thrive. We have just recently hit $600m in settlements, doubling the business’ YOY growth.”

During the latter part of FY2019, Simplicity launched Marketplace Finance, a platform that teaches brokers how to write commercial deals. The online resource, which Gortan co-founded, is essentially a community that aims to elevate the industry via training programs, experiences and connections.

Both Marketplace Finance and Simplicity focus on commercial lending solutions, providing tailored assistance to both clients and referrers around transaction structuring, deal placement and debt service, as well as a wide range of services in the property space.

At their management review meeting after a highly successful first business year, the Simplicity team realised that in order to supercharge the business and for them to reach the next level, they need to develop the broker-to-broker model they have toiled with for the past 12 months.

"Without a great deal of trying, we had written about $25m-worth of broker-to-broker business through a third-party relationship," Gortan said. "It dawned on us that there was a huge opportunity for us to formalise some of the “informal” arrangements that existed in the market."

Sticking to the basic - According to Gortan, although his team cannot pursue every transaction that comes through their doors, they have kept their relationship with clients by doing the fundamentals well.

Simplicity has always been relationship-based and not commission-driven, and Gortan would go as far as doing an initial transaction for free if that would result to multiple deals with the client. Because, for him, “it’s not about the first one, but about the third and fourth deal together”.

Gortan stressed the importance of remembering that referrers are also clients. His team doesn’t just get deals done for referrers. They also help educate and upskill them to be able to implement basic commercial strategies. “Just like we acknowledge that there will be deals we can’t place, there will always be transactions that are outside of a referrer’s skill set. In order to achieve an outcome for their client, referrers will need help, which is where we come in,” Gortan said. Growth likely to double

A big believer of empowering staff with the confidence to make responsible decisions, Simplicity fosters a mentoring culture wherein sales heads train associates to become independent and to eventually develop the drive to step out of the proverbial comfort zone. The mentoring system has seen many of Gortan’s staff grow and succeed in the last couple of years.

Given that Simplicity has been operational for just two years, its team is “really happy with where the business is at the moment”. However, growth condition implies that the business will likely double over the next few years.

“The focus within the Simplicity team is to grow the Marketplace Finance brand and our aim is to become the preferred referral platform for the industry,” he added.

With two young daughters, Gortan considers staying at home his primary priority when away from work. His family owns a property in the Hunter Valley where they try to get away to whenever possible.

“It’s the time of my daughters’ lives that I can never get back. It’s so important to be around to watch them grow up,” he said.

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