Ben Magnus is the Head of Mortgage Broking at Empower Wealth. With a background in banking and financial services, Ben has been a part of this sector for the past ten years.
Joining the team at Empower Wealth the day a global pandemic set in – Ben Magnus knows a few things when it comes to perseverance and resilience, along with the secrets to success. Implementing a growth strategy and wearing many hats, to ensure Empower Wealth operates at optimum capacity during a demanding time (and beyond).
Tell us about the journey you’ve taken in your career.
I’ve been in the mortgage broking industry for over 10 years now. I started my career in Banking and Finance at Bankwest. Moving through multiple roles at Bankwest over the 9 years there, I moved into a third-party Leadership role managing the Risk, Operations and Change programs for the Broker channel, and then into a Business Development Role focussing on building brokers’ businesses and expanding new to bank acquisition of clients.
From there, I moved across to the NAB where I was an enterprise BDM. I finished up with NAB after an internal restructure and secured the role at Empower Wealth about 18 months ago (actually the day the pandemic started).
What challenges have you had to overcome in your career, and how did you overcome them?
If I look more recently, the last 18 months have probably been the most challenging part of my entire career. While we can say ‘pandemic’ as a scapegoat – it’s much broader than that.
The pandemic has customers thinking differently. Not only in regards to how they want to be served but also in what’s important to them.
So my challenge is around being resourced, to be able to support the customer enquiry. Because right now, they (our customers) have more time on their hands as they’re working from home, they’re working remotely, and they’re worried about the future and what the pandemic might bring from a financial and economic impact perspective.
To put it in perspective: I’ve doubled the size of the Mortgage Broking team in the last 12 months, all during the pandemic. I hadn’t even met the team for the first 9 months as everyone was working remotely. Trying to onboard, educate, train, and mentor remotely, has been another significant challenge.
It hasn’t been easy, especially to do it all remotely but we’ve succeeded by ensuring everyone’s mindset is on growth. By doing things like bringing the team together for an offsite strategy day. Where I didn’t talk process, I didn’t talk action, I didn’t talk workload – I talked mindset.
“ I thought it critical for everyone to change their mindset and to put it all in perspective. What we’ve achieved in the middle of a pandemic and what we could achieve if we weren’t. Because we won’t be in this forever.
Why do you do what you do? What do you love about it?
Although the last 18 months have certainly made me question this a lot – I still get no greater pleasure than seeing my staff succeed.
While that may sound like a “leader 101” attribute, nothing is more meaningful than seeing the team achieving their goals. Whatever they set themselves as a milestone or a career progression – seeing them thrive, that’s one thing that makes me really proud.
What I also love about this particular role, is that there is no same day. Every day is simply different, a different challenge and a different opportunity. I think that’s what makes this Mortgage Broking industry quite interesting.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A few things – probably a superhero…. but I always had a passion for food. I always wanted to be a chef, so I went and did just that. I went and got my commercial cookery certificate. I worked with some of Australia’s best chefs and even went to the UK to learn more.
I thoroughly enjoy food and cooking. I never thought to myself I would be the Head of a Mortgage Broking Division, that’s come subsequently from investing in my learning. It’s interesting how things turn out.
“ The best advice I was ever given as a kid was to “never turn down an opportunity”. As a result, I’ve always followed every opportunity. Which I’ve loved.
What are your top 3 tips for other people wanting to build a successful career in the loan processing space?
It’s not going to come easily. You’ve got to allow yourself to make mistakes, to move forward, and learn from those mistakes. To persevere with any challenges that happen because it’s a constantly changing industry.
I think you’ve got to have a real passion or high altruism for helping others. The successful mortgage brokers in this industry aren’t after it for a penny, they’re after it because they want to help customers achieve their financial goals.
3. Attention to detail.
Quite frequently in this industry, people can become unstuck by not following a critical process or by taking a shortcut. Quicker is not necessarily easier because, in the long run, you might do more damage than good.
What is standing out for you in the industry at the moment?
With the sheer volume of customer enquiry, the mortgage broking industry is successful by its own successes. We provide competition, an easier customer experience, and the solutions clients need to execute on their longer-term financial goals. This is making for an interesting period with low-interest rates and a property market on fire.
At a time where customers are reviewing their finances and reprioritising what matters in life and lifestyle, the broking industry has been in such high demand. Finding the right staff stands out as a challenge I am constantly looking to solve.
If like Ben Magnus, you’re noticing an increased demand in enquiry, you may need assistance in sourcing the right candidates to help you grow and meet that demand. That’s where we can come in! Reach out to us for a free, no-obligation business consultation.