Years as a commercial broker: 36
Sales volume in 2015: $130 million
Totals deals in 2015: 18
CMP: When did you first start your business?
Andrew Bennett: Nexus has been going for 26 years; we started in 1990.
CMP: There have been many big changes since then. What sticks out for you?
AB: There is always money there to lend. You just need to know what parameters people want to lend at. The biggest thing is educating the borrower. They always have great expectations, and they are usually the last ones to react to market changes. We still get people asking us for construction lending on recreational property, but there’s no market for that, and there hasn’t been for three years.
CMP: So being able to adapt to the economy’s health is key?
AB: Yes. We are located in Richmond, but we are across the country. The only province we are not in is Quebec, and that’s only because I don’t speak French.
CMP: What is the main focus of the business?
AB: We do very little lending here. The lending that we do is primarily term lending. Most of the investors we represent are pension funds or institutional, so they want their money out for a longer period of time. We do some deals in Vancouver, but most are on Vancouver Island, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
CMP: Does the Canadian economy concern you as far as your business goes?
AB: What you see is lenders are becoming much more conservative. Canada Mortgage & Housing is not really in the game anymore when it comes to term loans. We are getting loans conventionally that are a higher loan amount than with CMHC. There’s not that much difference in interest rates – you’re talking maybe 1%. They are almost becoming the insurer of last resort; you only go to them if you have to.
CMP: So in that environment, is there a certain direction you want to take your business?
AB: We are getting into other areas. Corporate finance, equipment leasing – we are getting more and more demands for that. We are going to continue to expand our business model. We work a lot with referrals and look after a lot of independent brokers out there.
We enjoy having our independence – there are a lot of benefits in that. You are more in control of your destiny. You pay a lot of money for a franchise name, and I don’t think that is worth the money in the commercial space.