Meet Jamie Ontal, our Broker Support Manager in WA
Jamie Ontal, our Broker Support Manager (BSM) in WA, talks about the value an aggregator brings to brokers and what he loves most about being a BSM.
When did you start working at Connective? What industry did you come from before joining Connective?
I started working at Connective in September 2017, however I have worked in mortgage broking aggregation for a total of eight years. Before aggregation, I was working with a credit union here in Perth, where I started as a teller and worked my way up to lending specialist and finally a business development manager.
What made you decide to join Connective?
I was looking for a change and a colleague at my previous role had worked with Connective and highly recommended the company. After I had a meeting with the Connective WA State Manager, Matt Cusworth, I could see that the culture was going to be the right fit for me and I haven’t looked back since!
Tell us what you love most about your job
I love meeting new people and building long-standing relationships. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a broker and their business achieve success, especially knowing that you have helped in some way. I also love the WA team – Michelle, Anna, May, Alastair, Sharna and Matt.
What value do you think an aggregator brings to brokers?
I like to think that Connective brings great value to our members. For our less experienced brokers, they need more help getting up and running in their early days, whilst for our more established groups, they value the efficiencies and customised workflows that we can deliver. I think all of our members value our broad professional development calendar and content, and everyone appreciates us being responsive and happy to do help.
How did your workday change now that you don’t have face-to-face meetings?
At first, it was a difficult transition to move from seeing brokers face-to-face to online meetings. That being said, given we are no longer on the road as much, it has cut down the travel time normally involved with seeing brokers and now means that we can get in front of more brokers during the day.
How are you building relationships with new clients during this time?
It was difficult in the beginning of the year; however we are very lucky to be in WA during this time. Restrictions have eased significantly and although we are not out on the road, we can see brokers in our office which allows us to get in front of new clients face-to-face. It also means brokers that want a break from video calls and online webinars can come in and have a coffee with us in our office.
How are you supporting your clients who are struggling with their business in this uncertain time?
These times have been challenging for everyone, especially for brokers who have not been able to get in front of their customers. At Connective, we have been doing everything we can to help our brokers through this time, via initiatives such as increasing our brokers online presence, enhancing their social media pages and improving their marketing campaigns.
How do you think your job might change in 2021 as a result of COVID-19?
I think that the new normal of working from home more will continue, as well as conducting more meetings via Microsoft Teams and phone meetings. That said, as our business in WA has been built on building strong relationships with our membership, I would expect that we will be back on the road again once things settle down again.
How does the broking industry look to you in 2021?
I think that the broking industry has already faired incredibly well despite the impact of COVID-19. Customers were able to access brokers whilst bank branches were closed. I expect that broker market share will have risen as a reflection and that this will continue as the best interests Duty comes into effect 1 January 2021. I think the industry is really well placed.