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Prospa's first year in New Zealand

Beau Bertoli, joint CEO of non-bank business lender Prospa, sat down with TMM Online to discuss SME business opportunities for advisers, and lessons from the firm's first year in New Zealand. 

Bertoli said Prospa has lent over $40 million to small businesses in New Zealand, with an average loan size of $30,000 in the NZ market. 

The lender believes there's plenty of opportunity for specialist lenders in New Zealand as SMEs remain "under-served" by the banks. 

"We've got about 1,200 small businesses now, out of an economy of 450,000 small businesses. It's great stuff but it's early days."

Bertoli said advisers have a key role to play in helping small businesses secure finance: "We think it could be a $4 billion market. This industry is in its infancy. For those advisers thinking about diversifying their revenue, there's never been a better time to jump into a new asset class."

He believes advisers can build their business and extend their service to clients by helping them find alternative sources of finance.

"Mortgage brokers have been the pinnacle of supporting small business owners, quite often through things like self-employed mortgages. The average mortgage broker will be surprised at how many small businesses they've helped and served over the years. Commercial finance is a very important part of being a small business owner and Prospa is trying to build more products to serve small business needs. As a mortgage broker, what a great way to diversify your sources of revenue so you're not just reliant on home lending."

Prospa this week launched a new offer for SMEs, with four-week no repayment on loans until the end of the tax year. The lender is offering an additional 1% commission for mortgage advisers.

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