Financier regains control

FINANCIER Crown & Gleeson has defied trend and regained full control over its business model after buying back several of its mobile lending franchises.

The Bundall-based short-term lender discovered the platform of its success could not be properly replicated in markets where it did not have control over the brand.

“This is not a business that you can learn over night and it wasn’t a model that could be replicated to a larger number of people,” says managing director Warren Lee.

“We were lucky that we didn’t have too many out there and were able to buy them back. It was consensual although we did lose a couple of franchises.”

The recent Gold Coast City Council budget showed a 60 per cent drop in the city’s listed finance company revenues following the spectacular collapse of MFS and City Pacific. This compared to a 47 per cent drop in construction and a 7.8 per cent drop in tourism. Companies like Allco, Storm and Centro were all battered, leaving unit holders to pick up the pieces.

Lee says that by keeping the operation focused on its area core area of expertise, Crown & Gleeson has been able to generate solid returns, despite a 25 per cent drop in growth over the last 12 months.

“We chose not to go down the funds management path and instead focused on short-term business lending,” says Lee.

“The old greed factor crept in with many of those publicly-listed funds managers and inexperienced operators faced the repercussions while the public suffered. It’s a tough game unless you have your finger on the pulse.”

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