Fund manager sees brokers as crucial to taking next step

Fund manager sees brokers as crucial to taking next step

Fund manager sees brokers as crucial to taking next step A dedication to make out-of-the-box mortgages work, one private lender is extending its hand to brokers to take its business to the next level.

“What we’re trying to do as an organization is build relationships for the long run,” says Matthew J. Robinson, the CEO and portfolio manager for W.A. Robinson Asset Management Ltd., a fund manager registered with the OSC. “We have a very unique model where we are raising capital from across the country through portfolio managers, and literally have an endless flow of money if we want it.”

Pillar Financial Services Inc., which is part of the Robinson Group of Companies and is contracted through an exclusive agreement with the Frontenac Mortgage Investment Corporation, is looking to Ontario’s broker network to grow its business, and return to what Robinson calls an “old-fashioned” way of doing business, with a 21st century attitude towards success.

“I’m 37 years old, but I’m old fashioned. I want there to be a real understanding of our value in the marketplace, and that mortgage brokers are really necessary,” says Robinson. “Brokers have a hard job to understand all the lenders, and where the right place is for their client. We’re just one option; but a really good one.”

Robinson takes pride in the fact that Pillar does walk the walk when it comes to short term lending, rural financing, cottage financing, and bruised credit.

“There’s a lot of space that we can cover,” he says. “And at the same time we’re giving a 6 to 7 per cent return to an investor. We’re pretty excited about our space, and I think there is a huge opportunity for lenders like us.”

For Pillar and its parent company, it may sometimes feel like they are a David among Goliaths – but that is a comparison that Robinson embraces and even takes pride in.

“We have 30 people on a $150 million fund – we get laughed out of Bay Street every time I go,” Robinson told MBN. “But you know what? I’m not starving. If you do a good job, people stick with you and you do good business. We want to reach out to the mortgage brokers and say ‘try us out – because we’ve got smart capital for you, and we want to do this across Ontario. We’re ready to take this to the next level.”

The treasury management system is run by CFO Kevin Cruickshank, who Robinson has dubbed “the Oracle” because of his ability to see 90 days into the future.

“It may seem funny, but it really is something we pride ourselves on, because we really care,” he says. “And that is the biggest part of the formula; I speak on this a lot, and I’m going to be talking about it again at our upcoming AGM with all of our investors and mortgage brokers.”

That message Robinson is bringing to the meeting is trust, competency, consistency and care.

“And I’m burning that into everybody’s head,” he says with conviction.

That message is especially important for brokers and everyone who is involved in the underwriting process of a mortgage application, says Robinson.

“You want to have a relationship so you can have a lender that understands the needs of your client, and you are the one who is going to communicate that,” he says. “This needs to be a win-win-win.”