We’d like to congratulate our Sydney Director, Ben Wardley for placing 3rd in MPA’s Top 10 Commercial Brokers 2020!
Jumping from fourth place to third, director of The Brokerage Ben Wardley wrote $100m more in loans this year than he did last year. As if that wasn’t achievement enough, he did so with a lower number of loans settled, meaning his average loan size was more than three times larger.
He says over the last year some of his key clients have been particularly active, so he was able to complete multiple transactions for those larger connections.
“I’ve always focused on developing relationships with active developers and borrowers who do multiple transactions each year, rather than having a large number of clients that only need finance every year or two. That strategy has been working in recent times,” Wardley says.
He adds that the market conditions have also been fairly strong for commercial brokers who have a client base and connections in the non-bank sector.
“When you look at the turmoil in the banking sector following the banking royal commission and tighter APRA controls, it has actually forced high-quality borrowers to seek funding from non-bank and private lenders,” he says.
While over the last 12 months Wardley has dealt with strong commercial real estate transactions that attracted attention from the major banks, he says trying to settle similar assets in the current environment would be vastly different.
“There are not many asset classes that are unaffected by COVID-19, so I’m sure all brokers and lenders will find it difficult to settle commercial investment transactions in this environment,” he says.
With the pandemic affecting every area of lending, Wardley’s business, which also offers residential loans to provide a full service to clients, is preparing for the challenges of the coming months. Wardley has already seen a large portion of work in progress cancelled or deferred.
“Our first challenge will be to make arrangements with the lenders for any clients that need assistance,” he says. “We have spent a lot of time on that, and I’m sure most of our clients will be able to get through this difficult period. As a business we really want to maintain our team (our biggest asset) and ensure we are in a strong position when the economy begins to recover.”
Brokers looking to expand into commercial should set goals around what they want their client base to look like in one to three years’ time, Wardley says, and targeting specific groups and industries that will help them find those clients.
“Be in it for the long term,” he adds. “It takes years to develop relationships in commercial lending, so make sure you stay committed to allow that to happen.”
Total value of loans settled: $263,362,520
Number of commercial loans settled: 34
Average commercial loan size: $7,745,956
Years as a commercial broker: 16
Article by Rebecca Pike at MPA Magazine.