Venkat Raman –
The country’s largest mortgage and insurance broker of Indian origin Global Financial Services Limited (GFSL) has appointed a former top banker and business consultant to its Advisory Board.
Mike Skilling, former Bank of New Zealand Business Financial Services General Manager, now an independent Management Consultant joined Darrin Franks, who was appointed to the Board in July last year.
Mr Franks is an insurance veteran with extensive experience in the insurance industry.
They will share and expand the vision of GFSL to go farther than its current reach.”
GFSL Managing Director Ajay Kumar said that the constitution of the Advisory Board was a part of his vision to establish the company that he founded 17 years ago as a professionally managed organisation with a corporate structure capable of expansion and diversification.
“GFSL has been growing faster than ever before, and certainly the fastest in the country mortgage and insurance brokerage industry. Our mortgage business grew a whopping 65% during the 2015-2016 financial year, with the value of mortgage loans written accounting for $831 million, and the value of insurance premium written by $800,000. With the total value of mortgage loans organised with banks through our company valued at more than $4 billion and insurance premium of $2.5 billion since our establishment in March 1999, we are now ready for the next stage of development,” he told Indian Newslink during an interview.
“The depth and breadth of experience that Mr Skilling has across retail, private, rural and business banking sectors, together with insurance, managed funds and finance companies means that his contribution to the governance of GFS will be immense. We are very pleased to have him as part of our team,” he added.
A member on several company boards, Mr Skilling brings with him extensive experience in the banking and finance sectors. He was a Founder, Director and Trustee of ‘The Icehouse,’ an organisation that helps businesses in their start-up stages and supports them in their growth and productivity.
He has been a member on the Independent Panel of Judges of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards for the past three years.
Mr Skilling said that GFSL has registered impressive growth over the years, expanding its customer base, not only in Auckland but also in other parts of the country.
“The banking, finance and insurance sectors are increasingly coming under the purview of the regulatory authorities such as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Financial Markets Authority. It is therefore important that apart from engaging in securing mortgage loans and writing insurance premiums for customers, it is important to ensure compliance at all times,” he said.
Mr Franks said that he is happy with the procedures and systems in place at GFSL to cope with the regulatory requirements, assess customers’ requirements and organise them with lending institutions and insurance companies.
“The company has a sound database and computer applications and hopes to switch to a better, and more sophisticated digital platform next year. The Advisory Board will work closely with the management of GFSL and assist in the career advancement of the employees as well,” he said.
Mr Kumar revealed that GFSL will open its first branch outside its company headquarters (located in Airport Oaks in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere) in Henderson in August 2016 and the second branch in Manukau next year. Properties in these two areas have been acquired and preparatory work has commenced, he said.
“Staff training and involvement in the operations of the company are paramount to provide quality service to customers. Every member of the staff has to participate in the ‘learning process’ at least one day during the working week as a part of their work schedule. We have a computerised system of informing online and other courses available for all our staff,” Mr Kumar said.
In a fast changing world of technology and loyalty, retention of customers is often more difficult than securing them in the first place. How GFSL has achieved not only a high rate of customer retention but also an increasing number of referrals through existing clients is an inimitable story of openness and choice. Every customer, whose application for a mortgage loan would stand the assessment and approval of the lending institution, would be required to (a) read, understand, approve and accept the terms and conditions of the loan (b) exercise the choice of the bank in order of preference (c) disclose the statements that are necessary to establish and maintain a close working client relationship (d) exercise the choice of allowing GFSL to monitor their performance (e) enjoy the exceptional service provided by Mr Kumar and his team.
The most important attribute that has been contributing to the continued success of GFSL and its customers is the ‘Unique Formula’ devised by Mr Kumar enabling customers to repay their loan and become free from the mortgage bond quicker than the usual 30 years. The Formula has almost always worked. GFSL is just 17 years old and many of its clients have repaid their original mortgage loans within this period.
GFSL not only arranges the mortgage but also advises customers on how they can save interest on it and get mortgage free earlier as per their individual capacity. Similarly, it recommends insurance products to fit with the customer’s unique situation.
Ajay Kumar with Mike Skilling and Darrin Franks on May 12