Glenn Calder (left) and Darren Little

The mortgage broking and financial planning businesses serve different segments of the same industry and remain highly complementary to each other, sharing similar goals to provide holistic solutions for their clients.

However, when talking about synergies between these two types of business, Glenn Calder, joint CEO at Viridian Financial Group, says the most important is “the philosophical alignment” that two organisations from both sides can share.

Viridian, which last year acquired mortgage broker Smartmove Professional Mortgage Advisors, tells Professional Planner three elements – technical, people, and philosophical – have been key to success.

Prior to the acquisition, the financial planning group only owned a small broking division, on top of its investment and financial advice segments. Calder says that apart from the benefits of scale, the acquisition also created room to learn from its new partner which has advantage in some areas.

“There is a lot to learn [about the two businesses],” Calder says. “The revenue profile of the mortgage broking business is much lower than financial planning business so it needs to be, by definition, more effective, more efficient, and Smartmove is probably the industry leader in that regard.”

Calder says the companies are philosophically aligned with how it will approach technology and the use of offshoring.

“Smartmove has quite a big advance in the offshoring or international component of their business, so we’ve been learning a lot of that,” Calder says.

At the moment, both firms are looking at opportunities for how to best use offshoring and operational excellence to their benefit.

Smartmove CEO Darren Little says the broker has found success with “process-driven” people based in the Philippines and Nepal. Overall, 60 of its 90 staff are based offshore.

“[This] really enabled us to have a consistent level of service in the lending space with a strong technology focus to support and enable what they are doing on the day-to-day basis,” Little says.