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Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Sale of broker book marks industry maturity

By Vernon Clement Jones
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The transfer of an established portfolio from one broker to another is offering encouragement to industry veterans convinced their years of service to the client have a significant and very tangible value.

“We bought the database,” said Mindy Small, one of two partners at Summerside Mortgages – The Mortgage Centre, in London, Ont. “I can’t say for how much, but we bought it last October, and while it’s early days, it is generating business for us and we are doing well with it.”

That book belonged to Joe Ornato, a mortgage agent both Summerside partners worked under. He transferred the database of about 2,000 names of past clients to them just before retiring. In addition to a lump sum, Ornato also receives a royalty for any new file based on his referral or one from a past client, said Small.

“We have our own client base,” she told MortgageBrokerNews.ca, “and things are going quite well based on that, but it’s always nice to have a little bit more and that’s what Joe’s database has provided.”

It’s a relatively new strategy for mortgage brokers, although commonplace among their counterparts in insurance and financial advisory. It also speaks to the maturation of the industry and the inherent value of a broker’s book of names and the associated file information, in terms of generating future business, said Jim Tourloukis, top Ontario broker on this year’s CMP Top 50.

“It’s what I plan to do when I retire,” the owner of Advent Mortgage Services in Unionville, Ont., told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “Selling your database makes sense and it definitely has market value, especially if those client lists are based on corporate contracts and those contracts are also being transferred with the business, which is what I plan to do.”

Still, both he and Small suggest that the wholesale transfer of a veteran broker’s book to another may be challenged on several fronts.

“There’s value in the database as long as you handle that broker’s clients with the respect and the consideration that they received with their original broker, and what’s been key for us is that we worked with Joe for years and I have touched many of his clients,” said Small, who most draws on the Ornato database for refis and new purchases by past clients. “I don’t think you can come in and buy a business and take over the database without having established a relationship: Clients need to phone in and hear that new person’s voice a couple times to feel

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