From teller to entrepreneur to one of the most awarded brokers in SA, Kanwaldeep (KD) Singh speaks about why he thinks Australia truly is the land of opportunity
Nine years ago, Kanwaldeep (KD) Singh arrived in Australia, with his wife and son, three suitcases, and his heart set on a better future.
KD Singh is today, the national winner of the Diversified Business Award, and a state winner of the Commercial Finance Broker Award at the 2017 MFAA Excellence Awards. He was also the state winner for best residential and commercial broker for 2018, and also for national finalist for the same awards in 2018. Now, the sky’s the limit, says KD Singh, who went from immigrant to broker through sheer will power and hard work.
“They say that from adversity comes opportunity. And that’s what happened for me,” says the Adelaide businessman. “I found Australia to be the land of opportunity and security. It embraces multiculturalism without prejudice,” he says.
Settling in Adelaide was a struggle for KD Singh and family. Despite having been a regional manager in a bank in India, it took four months for him to land a job. “And when I finally got one, I realised I was starting from scratch again. The job I got was as an entry-level position as a teller with ANZ,” he says.
In 2010, two years after he joined the bank, KD left to seek his own fortune as an entrepreneur. “Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all,” he says, adding that this was the driving force behind his decision to become an entrepreneur.
KD first worked as a sole trader, then in 2012 he established Money Merchants Financial Services, tapping into a niche: helping other migrants with their finances. He noticed that the migrant population was growing at a significant pace in Adelaide and in Australia. “Especially people coming from the sub-continent—India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Afghanistan. One of the biggest aspects and challenges they face is the language and the second part is understanding the financial culture and systems in Australia,” he says.
KD says his business acted like a conduit for them, and they started trusting him and his abilities to guide them to secure finance. “The approach to finances also varies from country to country. India is a holding economy—people will save for 20 years and then buy a house. Over here the concept is the opposite; you buy a house first and then pay for the next 20 years,” he says. “Most of the time in India the paper trail is not important; word of mouth is. In Australia, everything runs on paper.”
KD, who now works out of two offices, says he is targeting $200 million in loan settlements this year. He has remained heavily involved in the migrant community—doing everything from supporting a cricket team to sponsoring festivals. Money Merchants Financial Services also runs free workshops advising new residents on a wide range of topics, including the ins and outs of job interviews.
KD plans to continue growing his business, both in South Australia and nationally. “Up until now we were on the runway. We are about to take off,” he says.
“Either you succeed or learn. There is no failure, so never give up—that’s the motto I swear by,” says KD.