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    • 2018 Commercial Lenders Roundtable
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    This broker explains why his knowledge of the credit industry has been key to his success

    SINCE 2011, Unique Finance Services has been developing an impressive reputation for satisfying clients and meeting unique needs in the mortgage space.

    At the head of the organisation is founder and director Vishal Gupta.

    Coming into the industry with an extensive background in banking, Gupta saw broking as a natural way to leverage his existing financial skills in a new environment.

    Initially kicking o‑ as a one-man operation, Unique Finance Services has expanded in the past decade to encompass eight employees working across virtually all fields of broking.

    “It’s hard to put into a few bullet points; it’s changed so drastically and completely since those early days,” Gupta says. “Year on year, the business has gone from strength to strength.”

    This success didn’t spring from nowhere; Gupta started his career with the major banks, spending time with big players like ANZ.

    Yet it was Citibank that would arguably prove most influential in his future career.

    During his eight years in the bank’s credit department, he gained a tremendous amount of experience learning where to spend his time on any given deal – a skill set that has been immensely helpful in his current broking role.

    “If you have a thorough knowledge of credit, you can always utilise it in the broking market because you know what the strength of an application will be,” Gupta says.

    “Our clientele is equally divided across [SMEs], first home buyers and investors … we have made a conscious e‑ ort to ensure we have a segmented client base” Vishal Gupta, Unique Finance Services

    “I believe that if you know what is going to work for the client, you will be in a better position than hundreds of other brokers.”

    Client diversity is key

    In practical terms, this has translated to a diverse client base for Unique.

    In 2018, diversification is an essential part of any brokerage, with over-reliance on any one sector to be avoided – but Gupta has been striving for this since day one.

    It’s an approach that has yielded impressive results so far: 2018 was a successful year for Unique Finance Services and Gupta himself was named one of MPA’s Top 100 Brokers for the third year in a row.

    “Our clientele is equally divided across small-to-medium businesses, first home buyers and investors,” Gupta says.

    “We haven’t done as much with overseas buyers, but we have made a conscious effort to ensure that we have a segmented client base.”

    Over the last two years, he says, this push for a broad clientele has also led to increased investigation of self-employed business owners.

    It’s an oft-overlooked area of mortgage broking, but one in which Gupta feels his skills can be effectively utilised to help others grow their businesses.

    “That’s where we see some key opportunities coming – individuals who have started a business, say, a couple of years ago and they’re now in a position where they’re looking to expand.”

    Future focus

    The next 12 months or so promise to be an intriguing time not only for Unique Finance Services but for the mortgage industry as a whole.

    The market has begun to shift out of the boom period, and property prices are already starting to fall around the country.

    “We had very strong growth from late 2012 right up to 2016 across commercial and residential,” Gupta says. “I don’t think we’re heading for a GFC, but I think we’ll see a slowdown until at least 2020.

    It’s part of the natural market cycle, along with other factors, like the royal commission and the increased regulation that’s likely to follow.”

    Yet while there are uncertainties ahead – particularly in light of the upcoming federal election – Gupta remains confident that there are still opportunities to be found in the changing mortgage landscape.

    “I think our focus for the next couple of years will not be to seek more business from outside but to retain clients and find them new solutions,” Gupta says.

    “We need to make sure their needs are looked after and they are trying to grow their portfolios – expanding horizontally, rather than vertically.”

    Original Article