Smart50 Awards 2015

2 Finsure Finance and Insurance

Revenue

$67 million

Growth

819.49%

Founders

John Kolenda, 50, and Calvin Ng

Head office

Sydney

Year founded

2011

Employees

31

Industry

Finance and insurance

Website

finsure.com.au

The property boom of the past decade and the deregulation of the financial services industry has created a burgeoning space for alternative lenders, which has in turn led to substantial growth in the market for the services provided by mortgage brokers.

Established in 2011, the Finsure Group set out to be the fastest-growing aggregation business in this industry.

One of the founders of the Finsure Group, John Kolenda, says the industry was in a state of rapid transformation, having reached a “tipping point” that meant consumers were looking at places other than the traditional big banks for finance options.

“For decades, it has been the major financial institutions (i.e. Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB) that customers would approach to facilitate their loans. However, with the deregulation of the industry, and the subsequent rise in alternative financial institutions, there was a sharp increase in home loan competitiveness,” Kolenda says.

Kolenda and co-founder Calvin Ng surveyed the landscape and spotted a strong potential niche for their business idea as an aggregator for the services of mortgage brokers and financial planners.

“At the time we started, there was a lack of innovation and competitiveness in the market, especially for any young broker who was entering into the market. Once we had established ourselves, we set our sights on expanding the group as rapidly as possible,” he says.

That expansion was greatly aided by building strong relationships with its broker network and independent brands in the industry, as well as the acquisition of competitor group LoanKit in 2013.

Today, Finsure Group is working with more than 750 brokers and has established a loan book of over $10 billion.

Kolenda credits the rapid growth of the business to investing in the right staff, ensuring the fundamentals of the business have kept up with its accelerated rate of growth and maintaining an entrepreneurial work environment.

He says paying attention to these factors has made it possible for the business to keep its focus on providing value to its clients and partners.

“At the very core of our business ethos is the desire to provide the strongest value proposition to all our partners and clients. It is this principle that underpins who we are as an organisation and why we are able to provide the maximum value to those who align with us,” he says.

Kolenda says the mortgage broking industry will continue to get more competitive over the next few years, with new entrants always on the horizon. He says diversifying Finsure Group’s offering and making it more “holistic” will be important. This might involve further acquisitions in order to complement the group’s existing suite of products and services.

“Our primary strategy for growth going forward will be organic recruitment. However, we will always continue to invest in people and technology,” he says.

“We will continue to fund growth in the future via reinvesting the profits of the existing Finsure business. If necessary, shareholder equity may also be used to fund acquisitions (if the opportunity arises) if it cannot be funded from the profits of the business.”

Kolenda says the group’s phenomenal growth over the past three years has put it in a position to become the leading provider of mortgage broking services in Australia.

“Our goal is to make Finsure Group the number one choice for any mortgage broker,” he says.

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