Close

Finance-forward: the brokers of now

  • Why this successful broker focuses on property investors and referral partners

    He has settled more than $500m-worth of loans over the past ten years

  • Why this successful broker focuses on property investors and referral partners

    He has settled more than $500m-worth of loans over the past ten years

  • SPECIAL REPORTS

    • 2018 Commercial Lenders Roundtable
    • Top 10 Brokerages 2018
    • 2018 Brokers on Aggregators

    Under-representation can sometimes appear like a shadow – gone for a moment, back the next. But for the Commercial and Asset Finance Brokers Association (CAFBA) this issue is always top of mind, and it is committed to empowering a slew of industry shifters to encourage and support female participation in the commercial broking industry.

    The MFAA’s Industry Intelligence Service Report 2018 confirms that although the number of women entering the industry is gradually growing, recent years haven’t been on par with where the industry is aiming to be.

    In April to September 2015, the proportion of women being recruited as brokers reached 34%, but this figure dipped to 30% in the same period of 2018, despite an overall rise in new recruits.

    The same report also shows an overall decline in the number of women brokers, with the proportion of females to males peaking at 28.3% in April to September 2016, then falling to 27.1% in 2018. As the peak industry body for commercial lending, CAFBA is working to turn this trend in the opposite direction.

    “Awareness is the first important step in creating any type of lasting change, and awareness is definitely out,” says Renee Tocco, board member of CAFBA.

    “Some of the data is indicating improvement on some fronts; however, we still have a long way to go, and we do need to do more if we want to see the correction happening sooner.”

    According to Tocco, equality and diversity are equally important to the longevity of the finance industry.

    “Women do love to support other women, and CAFBA’s forums seem to be fostering exactly the culture and equality momentum we were hoping to see”

    “Ideally, we would love to see brokers be more reflective of the clients that they service, and as a wonderfully multicultural nation with 50% of the population being females, we clearly have a bit of room for improvement on that front,” she says.

    Widespread change depends on having the right foundations in place, and most importantly the right pioneers at the top level, encouraging more women to realise that they have everything it takes – within themselves – to carve their own pathways and be leaders too.

    “The focus on gender balance is seeing many more women in start-up positions, which should ultimately mean that this will fl ow through to progress into having more women in leadership roles moving forward,” Tocco says.

    With a strong anchorage in empowering women, CAFBA is calling on all women in the industry to unite for its Women’s Forum and advance the push towards equality and diversity.

    The first series of the motivational breakfast events launched in March attracted a total of 120 attendees. The last event in the second series, which took place in August, saw this number shoot up by 30%, and the forum’s positive effects received widespread industry praise.

    “Women do love to support other women, and CAFBA’s forums seem to be fostering exactly the culture and equality momentum we were hoping to see,” Tocco says.

    “Awareness is key. We need to keep talking to the issue, focusing on strategies to address it, and call out issues if we see them.

    Whilst there is a clear minority group in the industry, running additional care, resources and support for these groups is the best way to drive focus and change.”

    Education is vital if younger generations are to realise the value of a career in finance broking, Tocco adds, and as a result CAFBA has launched a Certificate IV in Financial Services, specialising in commercial and asset finance, as well as a diploma.

    “Research has shown that in the finance broking space the gender pay gap that exists in virtually every other industry does not exist” Renee Tocco, board member, CAFBA

    “Educating younger people on the opportunity of becoming a finance broker, and making career pathways known and available, is really important. Finance broking is a little hidden gem, and many people don’t consider it as a profession, but you can set your own pace in many ways and set your own income too. We see many one-person bands in this industry who set themselves up with a wonderful small business, but on the flip side, if you are more entrepreneurial, the world is your oyster and you can build a firm, grow a big business and support more career opportunities,” Tocco says.

    “Research has shown that in the finance broking space the gender pay gap that exists in virtually every other industry does not exist. What a great statistic for us to focus on as we encourage women into the industry!”

    CAFBA is always looking towards the future when it comes to implementing new strategies, which Tocco says are to “ultimately safeguard the longevity and prosperity of this vibrant industry”.

    One of these is CLYP (Commercial Lending Young Professionals), a sub committee of CAFBA that is set to launch in September.

    “This will address the age gap issue in the industry by encouraging young members (under 40) to connect and form strong networks,” Tocco says.

    Original Article