Australia’s most respected media publication for the mortgage and finance broking industry, The Adviser, recently caught up with Octet’s Chief Commercial Officer, Brett Isenberg to discover more about their business and plans to better cater for the introducer market.
What are the origins of Octet?
BI: Octet was founded by my father, Clive Isenberg in 2008 to support the increasingly globalised supply chains servicing the Australian economy. The business was built with international trade firmly in mind.
From as early as the 90s, a vast majority of Australian companies began moving their supply chain completely offshore – mostly to China, due to the far lower production costs.
However, unlike dealing with local manufacturers who typically offer trade credit to their clients, these new importers were forced to pay for goods up front, or on shipment, creating an instant cash flow gap for them. In a nutshell, Octet is here to help finance the entire supply chain, from funding the production of goods right through to end consumption, whilst offering an inbuilt foreign exchange capability via our trade platform.
When you say ‘Working Capital Solutions’, what exactly does this entail?
BI: Octet provide a diverse range of funding and payment solutions to ambitious Aussie businesses. Our products are all geared towards helping SMEs close their working capital gap to a level that is acceptable to them, in meeting their daily and seasonal cash flow requirements. We pride ourselves on partnering with Introducers and their clients on their business growth journey – so whether it be Debtor Finance, Trade Finance, enablement of Card or Foreign Exchange Payments, or our new and highly innovative product, Supply Chain Accelerate – these will be tailored to that unique client’s industry and specific profile.
What’s unique about Octet?
BI: There are quite a few items that make us a unique proposition in the market:
- We offer a digital wallet solution, enabling supplier payment via your chosen funding source. This might be a bank account, credit card or an Octet trade or debtor finance facility. Our payments facility also includes foreign exchange, where our bank-beating FX rates give you upfront visibility of exactly what you’ll pay in your local currency.
- Supply Chain Management – our market-leading trade platform allows for clear visibility across the supply chain and makes tracking, validating and authorising every step of your client’s business transactions.
- Our Referral Partner’s Program provides generous upfront and trailing commissions, as well as Qantas Points on settled Debtor and Trade Finance transactions and facility limits.
- Our Global network – your clients can leverage a global network of over 55,000 buyers, sellers and financial institutions to help scale their business through smart partnerships, connected supply chains and simplified processes.
How have Broker channels assisted Octet’s growth journey?
BI: Immensely. Octet is a fast-growing, Aussie-owned business and we’ve proudly partnered with Aussie broker’s for over 10 years now. We wrote more than $700 million of business in the last financial year, and a good percentage of this can be attributed to the strong relationships that we have with our partners.
What do you see as some of the key trends for Brokers moving into the next financial year?
BI: It’s certainly a very challenging and ever-evolving commercial lending market currently. Some of the key trends we can see are –
- Client awareness of complimentary and supplementary products (e.g. trade and debtor finance), meaning that they can retain the relationship and products with the bank that may have built up over years.
- Business demand for ease of access, security over their data and a technology-driven solution. For example, Labour Hire industry clients often need to mass upload lists of Debtors, so having functionality that enables them to upload bank ABA files for payroll and other beneficiaries and pay the designated beneficiaries straight from their funds availability saves lots of time and money.
- Accessing business funding with no property security requirement – business owners today may not have available equity in their property or might have several Directors with varying personal asset positions. It’s therefore critical these businesses can access products that don’t rely on property security as a basis for lending
- Banks – lack of access to key decision makers, slow turnaround times for approvals and tight credit criteria. Banks can often take ownership of the client once they are on-boarded, which clearly isn’t good news for introducers as they have no control over the IP vested.
What can Brokers expect from Octet?
BI: I mentioned some of the items that make us unique earlier, but essentially a transparent, fair, seamless and value-added service. Octet is a business that is committed to investing significantly in our products, technology and people to make the experience seamless for both introducers and their clients.
What’s next for Octet?
BI: We’re moving into an exciting period of growth and diversification. Banks continue to operate under restricted lending conditions and thriving Aussie businesses demand solutions. We’re particularly excited about expanding upon our recently announced partnership with the Bank of Queensland to deploy our supply chain finance solutions throughout their network.