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MFAA Prosper : Mortgage and Finance Brief 09
After seven weeks of retirement, Ross Laurenson had had enough of wiling away his days and craved a return to life in the fast lane. We caught up with him ten months into his second coming to find out why the financial services industry still makes him tick. Words Carla Grossetti Photography James Lauritz I t’s with zero wistfulness that Ross Laurenson recalls his short-lived retirement from the mortgage and finance industry. The 52 year old, who describes his seven-week trial retirement period as ‘completely boring’, says he sold his Home Loan By the Bay business in December 2005 after receiving an offer he couldn’t refuse. He started to edge back into the mortgage industry not long after as a coach and mentor to sales people early in 2006. “I’ve never found life as boring as when I retired. I thought, ‘What am I going to do?’ I’m not one of those guys who enjoys hanging out with grown men and trying to bashatinyballwithaclubsoIhadtoget back to work,” says Laurenson, who had been working in the sector since the age of 21. “The concept behind my training program was that there was a void in the market. All the managers I had ever spoken to throughout the course of my career always complained about the quality of the staff; but nobody had ever explained that the problem was they were actually bad managers,” he says. ‘Percentages rather than people’ Given Laurenson has worked in senior management roles with some of the best in the business – namely Yellow Brick Road founder and chairman Mark Bouris and Aussie Home Loans’ John Symond – it’s not surprising that the Train Them, Don’t Blame Them training module was a huge success. But when what started out as a three-month contract with Resimac morphed into a management role “concerned with percentages rather than people”, he says he lost his passion for the program. A brief stint creating an investment division at Buy Property Direct followed. But it was his decision to open up a Yellow Brick Road franchise in Frankston in August 2010 that has finally left Laurenson feeling “positively invigorated” about being back in the mortgage and finance fold. “I made my wife promise she would kill me if I ever went back to the mortgage market. But after helping a friend do all his due diligence to investigate the potential of Yellow Brick Road, I had an epiphany. I thought, ‘I should be doing this myself ’,” says Laurenson. Aim to revolutionise business Laurenson says he followed his friend and former boss Bouris down the Yellow Brick Road because he believes his approach to wealth management will revolutionise the way brokers do business. Since opening the doors of his Frankston franchise 10 months ago, he says he has won clients interested in receiving financial advice on everything from home loans and accounting, to insurance, investment strategies, estate planning and taxation. He says any broker who grumbles about the fallout from the GFC, or who doesn’t rejoice about the new consumer laws and regulation, should “withdraw into the little hole they crawled out of ”. “As I now say to any new chum wanting to take on a franchise, the mortgage industry is coming back. Yes the banks slashed commissions, yes we had the GFC, but a change is as good as a holiday,” he says. “The mortgage market today does not realise it but we are going to take this industry by storm. The broker market is going to explode because our clients are coming to us because we are impartial and qualified and we are meeting their expectations now and well into the future,” he says. Changes making industry better Although some brokers are critical of the recent changes to the industry, in terms of product, commissions and regulations, Laurenson believes it has been the equivalent of cleaning out the rubbish bins. “It was only a few years ago in the financial services industry that John and Betty Smith in the suburbs could be sold a loan by a guy who was driving a cab the day before. It’s vitally important for this industry to have structure and accountability and if any of my older chums try and recall the glory days I tell them these are the glory days. It’s a fool’s paradise to think we will do things the way we’ve done them for the past 20 years. The fact that someone who is borrowing a lot of money can speak to a broker and know they are skilled and accredited can only be a good thing,” he says. Profile Mor tgage & Finance brief | 41
Mortgage and Finance Brief 08
Mortgage and Finance Brief 10