La Trobe Financial

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La Trobe Financial
Private Limited
IndustryFinancial Services, Wealth & Funds Management
Founded6 August 1952
Headquarters333 Collins Street, ,
Number of locations
Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, Hong Kong (China)
Key people
Greg O'Neill (President & CEO)
Rowan Donohoue (CRO)
Rob Clough (CFO)
Martin Barry (Treasurer)
Chris Andrews (CIO)
Cory Bannister (CLO)
ProductsReal Estate Credit
Fixed Interest Investments
Funds & Wealth Management
Insurance Services
FY18 A$234 million (FY17 A$169 million)
AUMA$6 billion (Sep 2018)
Total equityNet Assets: FY18 A$142m (FY17 A$108m)
OwnersBlackstone LP NYC 80%
Greg O'Neill 20%
Number of employees
DivisionsReal Estate Credit
Private Wealth Management
Custody & Client Services
Tech Ops
Risk & Governance

La Trobe Financial is Australia's premium non-bank, wealth manager and credit specialists.[1][2]. La Trobe Financial offers real estate credit, fixed interest investments and funds management to some 43,000 clients. The President and CEO is Mr. Greg O'Neill. La Trobe Financial's head office is located in Melbourne, with corporate offices in Sydney, Shanghai and Hong Kong.


La Trobe Financial was established in 1952 in Australia and initially operated as a specialist residential lender business partnership between Kel O’Mullane and Ray O’Neill. Attributed as one of the fastest growing permanent building societies in Victoria in the 1970s with a network of 9 branches and over 230 agents and AUM of $28million[3]. It was eventually de-mutualised after Ray O’Neill bought out his co-founding business partner in the early 1980’s.

La Trobe Financial operates as one of Australia’s leading credit specialists, dedicated to providing financial solutions for borrowers and investors whose financial needs are under-served by traditional institutions.

La Trobe Financial specialise in originating, underwriting and managing granular assets being both traditional residential and commercial mortgage loans. La Trobe Financial tailor lending products to clients who require personalised service from a dedicated and highly trained workforce. The assets managed are 70% residential security and 30% commercial security based.

La Trobe Financial uniquely fund these assets via institutional funding, a retail credit fund, and a capital markets bond program. La Trobe Financial's experience, platform and performance makes investing in residential and commercial mortgages accessible to all investors creating superior risk adjusted returns.

The modern day corporate La Trobe Financial has built on the heritage of one of Australia's oldest credit specialists enterprises. Since establishment in 1952, the business has scaled to be one of the largest Australian non-bank financial institutions currently managing A$6.8 billion with more than 300 staff. During that time La Trobe Financial has assisted over 140,000 individuals obtain mortgage finance and have cumulatively managed investment funds from wholesale and retail sources in excess of A$16 billion; this has been carried out without loss to any institutional or pooled retail investors.

La Trobe Financial currently generate asset origination levels exceeding A$4 billion per annum and growing. La Trobe Financial seek to work with institutional and retail investment partners on further public and private mandates to fund strategic growth.


The company operates through two core entities: La Trobe Financial Services an unlisted proprietary (private) company, holder of Australian Credit Licence "ACL" 392385 [4], responsible for group administration and asset servicing, third party outsourcing services, custody services and group insurance sales, and wholesale institutional funding mandates. The second core entity is La Trobe Financial Asset Management, an unlisted public company and holder of Australian Financial Services Licence "AFSL" 222213[5], responsible for all retail investments in the La Trobe Australian Credit Fund and its Wealth Management operation.


La Trobe Financial utilise over 2,400 loan brokers and 867 independent financial advisers as their third party product distribution across Australia, with full time Business Development Managers (30) and an adviser support team (15).

In 1994 in recognition of its range of products the Housing Industry Association (HIA) appointed La Trobe Financial as exclusive financier for its national display village for two years, and La Trobe Financial opened its service desk seven (7) days a week[6].

Loan Products[edit]

La Trobe Financial offers Australia's broadest mortgage product suite with a focus on lending to prime (25%), near prime (62%) and specialist (13%) lending sectors. Loan products cater for a wide range of borrower and credit situations with their group maximum Loan-to-valuation ratio (LVR) being 80%.

Asset Performance[edit]

La Trobe Financial performs in line with the broader non-bank market and its average loss experience is less than its peer group. It is a function of their conservatives underwriting and LVR maxima. Many traditional bank customers moved to La Trobe Financial as a result[7].

While many other competitors have come and gone La Trobe Financial have seen off many new operators[8].

Funding Strategy[edit]

La Trobe Financial has perhaps the most diversified funding program of all non-banks operating in Australia incorporating:

  • A$3 billion of term debt facilities from local and international financiers;
  • a A$2.8 billion dollar Credit Fund featuring four investment account types including a 12 Month Term Account and Peer to Peer (P2P) investment option. The Credit Fund is independently rated; and
  • a complementary A$2.2 billion publicly rated capital markets programme issuing Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS).

La Trobe Financial first accessed debt capital markets in 2014 with the goal of broadening their funding capabilities with an RMBS programme as one component of the Group's overall funding strategy.

La Trobe Financial continues to see growth in all funding sources.

Business Performance[edit]

The business has consistently performed well and in recent years has accelerated growth through targeted initiatives such as broker awareness, increasing staff numbers and developing a direct to consumer (DTC) digital channel. La Trobe Financial expect operating conditions to be favourable for the medium term as regulatory pressures results in banks withdrawing from certain niche market sectors which La Trobe Financial have a comparative advantage and specialise in.

The Global Financial Crisis (GFC)[edit]

In early 2007, La Trobe Financial employed over 120 staff and was originating around A$100m per month of residential and commercial mortgage business. The market for mortgage backed securities (RMBS) changed radically in July 2007, the start of the Credit Crunch. From this point onwards, risk aversion in the debt capital markets increased sharply, and the RMBS market effectively shut in early 2008. A large non-bank mortgage lender (RAMS) failed in August 2007, the first major casualty of the credit crunch in Australia. The business had been listed on the ASX just 8 weeks earlier at a market capitalisation of A$880m.[9]

The environment deteriorated again sharply in 2008 as the equity markets caught up with the scale of the turmoil in the structured credit markets, and started a major sell-off. Confidence in financial institutions of all types deteriorated throughout the year, and many banks struggled to fund themselves in the interbank markets, where borrowing rates rose sharply. Pressure built for financial institutions on multiple fronts, culminating in the failure of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Governments in most developed countries implemented emergency support strategies designed to back-stop their struggling banks. In Australia, bank deposits were guaranteed[10] in October 2008 and (A$20bn) mortgage backed bond purchase programme was introduced by the government via the AOFM. Government strategies were virtually all based on supporting their various regulated banking systems however, and non-bank lenders were largely left to fend for themselves. Most non-bank lenders radically curtailed their lending as a result, or stopped completely. La Trobe Financial continued their operations unblemished throughout this period and all investors and borrowers funding needs were met without compromise.

Sale of Australian Operations[edit]

On 22 December 2017, La Trobe Financial announced the sale of 80% of its operations to funds managed by Blackstone Group NYC[11]. La Trobe Financial remains 100% privately owned company, by two shareholders 80% Blackstone and 20% by interests associated with Greg O'Neill.

La Trobe Financial is overseen and governed by a majority independent board of directors meeting formally each quarter to review business activities. The board has a diverse set of skills and experience relevant to the underlying business. The board have delegated specific operational authority to various committees which have carriage for setting policy for management.

Key dates and Milestones[edit]

Since 1952 operating institutional investment mandates of between $100m to $800m. In 1990 introduced Australia's first alternative verification loan for self employed called Lite-Doc[12]. In 2001 was appointed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission ("ASIC") to take over another national operator.[13]

More than $16 billion has been managed on behalf of institutional and retail investors since the company commenced its operations. Institutional portfolios comprise long term wholesale mandates from all of Australia’s big four banks, most Australian regional banks, international banks and financial institutions without loss of mandated investor capital or interest since inception.

The group's Credit Fund accommodates both retail investors and select wholesale institutional investors; and operates under AFSL (222213) and the Corporations Act. The Credit Fund has over $2.8 billion (30 December 2018) of retail investments.[14]

The company has also received many domestic and international awards. The Credit Fund's 12 Month Term Account has been voted Australia’s Best Mortgage Fund by Money magazine for the last ten consecutive years (2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010)[15]

During 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 La Trobe Financial received five International Finance Awards (London based) for Best Investment Management Company - Australia[16], Best Mortgage Fund - Australasia and Best Wealth Management Company and Non Bank Lender of the Year. [17][18]

Awarded six International Alternate Investment Review (IAIR) Global Funds Management Awards in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 presented in Hong Kong for Asset Manager of the Year - Asia Pacific (2017) and Non-Bank Lender Australia (2017).[19]

In 2017, La Trobe Financial won Mortgage Professional Australia's (MPA) Magazine's Non-Bank of the Year.[20]

Winner 2011 Victorian Innovation in Funds Management Award – Awarded at the Melbourne Financial Services Symposium,[21] and an honourable mention in 2015 for innovation with their P2C (Parent-to-child) first home owner loan product.

Australia’s only 4 1/4 star-rated mortgage fund – SQM Research[22]

Lipper Leaders rated '5' for 12 Month Term Account Total Return, Consistent Returns and Preservation[23]

Rated "Very Strong" by Australia Ratings for overall "continued focus to prudently manage the Fund and foster its growth and performance to current levels, whilst preserving investor capital."[24]

Chosen in 2015 as one of fifteen (15) firms across Australia by AUSTRADE, the Australian Federal Government trade promotion body to promote Free Trade Agreements across Asia Pacific [1]

In 2018 Australian Mortgage Awards Finalist: Non-Bank of the Year[25]

Previous chief executives[edit]

  • Kelvin David O’Mullane 1952–1972 (20 years)
  • Raymond Kevin O’Neill 1972–1997 (25 years)
  • Gregory Kevin O’Neill 1997-current (20 years)

Previous chairman[edit]

  • Mr Kelvin O'Mullane 1952–1961 (9 years)
  • Mr Donald Cooper OA 1961–1972 (11 years)
  • Mr Pat O'Brien 1972–1980 (8 years)
  • Mr John Barton 1980–1984 (4 years)
  • Mr John Dack DFC 1984–1986 (2 years)
  • Mr Bertram Wilson 1986–1997 (11 years)
  • Mr Raymond O'Neill 1997–2007 (10 years)
  • Mr Perce Cooper 2007–2010 (3 years)
  • Mr David Bird 2010–2016 (7 years)
  • Mr John Marriott 2016-current (2 years)


  1. ^ a b La Trobe, Financial (24 November 2015), "Austrade Free Trade Agreement (FTA)", YouTube
  2. ^ La Trobe, Financial (31 October 2018), "Contact Us", La Trobe Financial Website
  3. ^ Traralgon Journal Newspaper lead story (3 September 1973), "Governor opens new head office for La Trobe", Traralgon Journal and Record
  4. ^ ASIC (11 February 2011), "Australian Credit Licence", ASIC
  5. ^ ASIC (28 October 2016), "Australian Financial Services Licence", ASIC
  6. ^ Turner, David; Groves, Les (12 January 1994), "Housing Industry Announces new Display Village Financier for two years", Joint Press Release
  7. ^ Derkley, Karin (30 April 1995), "Loan saga shakes loyalties", The Sunday Age
  8. ^ Murrill, Maureen (18 September 1995), "Originators 'new kids on the block'", The Age
  9. ^ Schwab, Adam (11 August 2018), "RAMS board pulled by Kinghorn on loan repayment", Crikey News
  10. ^ ASIC (11 August 2018), "Australian Government guaranteed deposits seal", ASIC
  11. ^ Kendell, Sarah (19 December 2017), "Blackstone buys La Trobe stake", Financial Observer
  12. ^ Chandler, Mathew (11 October 1998), "Loans harder for self-employed", The Australian Financial Review
  13. ^ ASIC (17 May 2001), "ASIC obtains court orders appointing temporary responsible entity to mortgage scheme", ASIC
  14. ^ La Trobe Credit Fund Manager Accounts (30 June 2018), "La Trobe Financial Annual Report", La Trobe Financial Website
  15. ^ Money Magazine (9 December 2017), "Money magazine's Best of the Best 2018", La Trobe Financial Website
  16. ^ International Finance Magazine (29 January 2015), "IFM London Award 2015 - Best Investment Management Company", YouTube
  17. ^ International Finance Magazine (29 January 2015), "IFM London Award 2015 - Best Mortgage Fund Australasia", YouTube
  18. ^ Sunil Bhat (Director) (10 May 2018), "IFM London Award 2018 - Best Non-Bank Australia", La Trobe Financial Website
  19. ^ LeFonti IAIR Awards (10 March 2017), "IAIR Awards 2017", La Trobe Financial Website
  20. ^ MPA Magazine (3 October 2017), "Brokers On Non-Banks", MPA Magazine
  21. ^ Monash, University (31 January 2011), "Victorian Innovation in Fund Management Awards 2011", Australian Centre for Financial Studies
  22. ^ SQM Ratings (19 January 2018), "SQM Report "4.25 Star Rating"", La Trobe Financial Website
  23. ^ Lipper Ratings (28 September 2018), "Lipper LeaderReport "5 Star Rating"", La Trobe Financial Website
  24. ^ Australia Ratings (22 December 2017), "Australia Ratings "Strong" rating", La Trobe Financial Website
  25. ^ Kennedy, Justin (31 October 2018), "Non-Bank of the Year", 2018 Australian Mortgage Choice Awards - Key Media

External links[edit]