In 1999, as an immigrant entrepreneur with 22 years’ experience in banking, Ajay Kumar Agarwal was concerned about the low levels of financial literacy he saw in New Zealand. From his home garage, he set up a new business called Global Finance (GF). GF negotiated with lenders to ensure customers received the best possible loan deals, using Ajay’s banking expertise to structure loans so people could repay them as quickly as possible.
GF’s difference is that it takes the time to understand people’s needs and goals, and tailors each loan to fit the customer’s unique situation. As a result, some of its customers, who were previously rejected by other lenders, are now seen as ‘bankable’. GF also helps its customers to get adequate but affordable insurance.
In the early days, at a time when Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems were in their infancy, Ajay built a propriety CRM server-based system. He also built the proprietary software that underpins GF’s Mortgage Genius Plan® – a money management tool that helps its customers repay their mortgages years sooner than they thought possible, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest repayments.
Ajay also overturned the conventional financial broking industry salary norm, which was to employ financial advisers based on a commission structure. Instead, GF employs advisers on a straight salary, ensuring their entire focus is on getting better outcomes for customers – a practice now enforced by New Zealand’s Financial Markets Authority.
From its humble beginnings and an investment of just $2,000, GF has grown to a $50 million business with 11 offices. It is also the most awarded New Zealand-based financial service provider, having arranged more than $11 billion in mortgage and insurance cover for 6000+ customers.
In the next 3-5 years, Ajay expects GF to become a $100 million dollar company.