That’s a wrap for another successful year as over 850 delegates gathered in Melbourne last week at AFG Next 2019. Over two days, AFG brokers, lenders partners and AFG staff had a chance to explore, examine and understand what the future of the Australian broking industry holds.
Opening proceedings was AFG CEO, David Bailey, with a business-critical update on the future of our industry, AFG and the competitive advantages at the fingertips of AFG brokers as we move into a new era of finance broking.
In a special appearance, Treasurer of Australia the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, took time out to provide an update on a range of industry and economic issues facing the country and specifically mortgage brokers as we progress with industry reform. A timely reminder that reform starts on the frontlines as we move to articulate and cement best interests duties for customers.
Chris Slater, AFG Head of Sales & Distribution, laid down the future for AFG’s broker distribution network and an unyielding commitment to ‘world’s best practice’ as we shift to create a world leading finance brokerage model designed to strengthen and safeguard our industry.
In an unveiling of AFG’s newest technology roadmap, Holden Lai, AFG Head of IT Strategy & Architecture, and Matt Faries, AFG Chief Information Officer, took brokers through a reimagining of the current broker experience and outlined the core tools in development for AFG brokers. The newly designed technology stack will see brokers outpace their competition as they engage with customers in the ever-evolving digital world.
Closing day one of AFG Next 2019, our co-major partner ANZ brought to the stage Gus Balbontin, the former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet, who through a mix of humour, powerful insights and undeniably superior Latin dance moves, explained to the keys to simplifying innovation and empowering ourselves to think differently.
Through an insightful analogy that people are never ‘stuck in traffic’ rather they ‘are the traffic’ Balbontin showed that the very people contributing to an issue are often the same people with the power to innovate and overcome their own challenges.
Day two kicked off with an address from David Gazard, Director DPG Advisory Solutions, who provided insights into the Government’s implementation plan for the recommendations of the Royal Commission and provided a breakdown of what the broker industry must now do to meet the new regulatory requirements and clearly show the enhancements the industry has made to ensure that their customers best interests continue to be first and foremost.
Co-Major partners, Commonwealth Bank, and Macquarie brought us Craig James, Chief Economist CommSec and Craig Griffin, Macquarie Executive Director Head of Marketing, for keynote presentations.
Craig James provided an update on the headwinds and tailwinds facing the Australian economy and included an assessment of the factors affecting interest rates, the property market and general business and consumer confidence as well as providing his prediction on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s next likely interest rate movements. Macquarie’s Griffin, provided his insights into the three levers of growth to drive business efficiency, customer relationships and build enhanced customer experiences.
A highlight of day two for many brokers was the chance to look behind the scenes with a deep dive discussion featuring Annie Kane, Editor of The Adviser, and a panel of high-performing brokers, Bridget MacGregor of Vision Money, Dom Cassisi of Funding Options, Leah Busby of Blackfish Finance and Nathan Smith of Birdie Wealth.
Freshly inspired by the success stories of our broker panel, brokers launched into a series of educational breakout streams designed to deliver educational content around the growth drivers for business, compliance, business productivity and building new income. Breakout streams provided brokers with a new toolkit of skills to take back to their businesses and deliver enhanced service, experiences and outcomes for their customers.
The final speakers for AFG Next 2019 were the awe-inspiring Dr Craig Challen OAM and Dr Richard Harris OAM who retold the harrowing ordeal of the cave-diving rescue of 12 teenage boys and their coach from a flooded Thailand cave in 2018. In a triumph of spirit, adaptability and performance under extreme pressure, the doctors showed us that as passionate cave diving hobbyists they were able to apply their distinct passion, understanding and unique expertise to save lives in an unimaginably difficult situation.
In a fitting close to the conference we awarded our AFG 2019 Champion Broker award. Taking out the win was Dom Cassisi, who hours earlier had volunteered his time to take to the stage and impart his keys to success as part of our AFG broker panel. Congratulations to Dom Cassisi and the team at Funding Options!