New regime puts Mortgage brokers on the front-seat

“That has been our goal for 20 years,” Ajay Kumar (Global Finance)

Venkat Raman

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) have said that sales incentives provided by commercial banks to their frontline staff and managers at all offices, branches and stores will be removed.

While most banks are reported to have complied with the new regime, the requirement will become mandatory from October 1, 2019.

‘Mis-selling is a feature of such incentives,” Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said in a Statement issued on June 24, 2019.

Five days earlier, he announced a new set of rules governing Financial Advisors that would cover mortgage brokers engaged in arranging loans for their clients through lending institutions – largely commercial banks.

There is already a body of work in progress to improve regulation of New Zealand’s financial systems, including measures to ensure financial advice provided is in the best interest of consumers, reforming contract law on insurance and revising credit laws to stop predatory and other lending not in the best interests of consumers.

Global Finance Hallmarks

These measures have been in place at Global Finance, one of the largest mortgage and insurance broking firms in New Zealand.

Ajay Kumar, Managing Director of the Company which marked its 20th Anniversary in March this year, said that accountability and transparency have been the hallmarks of his business since the day of inception.

“Customer satisfaction is of foremost concern to Global Finance. Our clients choose the bank/s with which they would deal and accordingly we arrange their mortgage loan. We do not have any incentive to our staff to place business with a particular lending institution. We are a customer-driven Company and they tell us what to do,” he said.

With annual average growth of 25% and with the mortgage loans and insurance premium written during the 2018-2019 financial year estimated at $1.1 billion, Global Finance is the largest company in the Indian segment in New Zealand. Apart from top awards given by ANZ, Westpac, ASB and BNZ for the highest mortgage loan arranged, Global Finance has also been the winner of the ‘Number 1 Insurance Advisor Award’ given by AIA New Zealand for the superlative performance of Global Finance over the past 20 years.

Meticulous Planning

One of the finest attributes of GF is meticulous planning, comprehensive documentation and unambiguous dealing with customers. Every individual who enters the portals of this company would be treated with utmost respect, confidence and professionalism. Each would have an opportunity to understand the terms of a mortgage loan or an insurance policy, choice of the institution to deal with and a detailed plan of fiscal management.

“We must listen to our customers and do everything in our power to meet their demands. There is no appeal to their requirements. We are nothing without them. All of us are totally committed to our customers,” Mr Kumar said.

Interest Saver Plan

Mr Kumar has developed a special formula which enables customers to manage their finances smartly and repay their loans early. Called, ‘Interest Saver Plan’ it has helped thousands of customers to achieve a combined saving of more than $300 million.

Just how he does it is a well-guarded secret but the fact that it has been commended by banks and others is testified by a number of awards and citations.

State-of-the-Art Technology

The urge to remain on top of business remains strong and Mr Kumar has generously invested in human and material resources to meet the ever-rising expectations of customers. He recently installed an even more robust IT System which, he said, “is capable of better and higher level of customer service.”

“This proprietary system is futuristic in scope and content and is expected to meet advances in technology over the next 20 years. This cloud-based technology will enable us to work from anywhere in the world, meeting the needs of not only clients but also the lending institutions, insurers and regulatory authorities,” Mr Kumar said.

Quality Financial Advice

According to Mr Kumar, every New Zealander must be entitled to independent, fair and unbiased advice from commercial banks and financial advisors.

“Understandably, commercial banks will always sell products and services that benefit them most. But Global Finance places customers first and informs them of the services provided by banks and allow them to make an intelligent choice.

“As Mr Faafoi said, we want New Zealanders to access good quality financial advice, because it can make a huge difference in people’s financial position and the quality of life they are able to enjoy. New Zealanders also want to more easily understand adviser’s expertise, and to know that those who give them advice on their finances are skilled and subject to good regulation supporting good practice. This is good for the sector too because it will drive increasing levels of trust.”

Consumers will have more peace of mind dealing with financial advisers such as Global Finance because accessing good quality financial advice makes a big difference in their lives.

With three offices, one each in Airport Oaks, Henderson and Manukau, Global Finance is confident of meeting the exacting standards of the authorities and its customers.

 

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