If you didn’t know who Mark Bouris was six months ago, you certainly do now. Thanks to Channel Nine’s television show The Apprentice, Mark Bouris is now a household name.
Prior to making his television debut, Mark Bouris was known to those in the business world as a marketing magician, successfully building Wizard Home Loans from the ground up, turning a small mortgage lending business into a multimillion-dollar company. Together with Aussie Home Loans’ John Symond, he was responsible for taking on the big banks in the 1990s, ultimately helping to slash mortgage rates. In 2004, he sold his stake in Wizard to GE Money for more than $400 million, and set about working on his next project. Now he is weaving his magic on screen, teaching a new breed of entrepreneurs how it’s done.
We spoke to Mark Bouris prior to his role on The Apprentice, where he shared with us his personal journey and his success with Wizard.
Bouris started his career as a chartered accountant, and then spent several years at a small Sydney law firm in the 1980s and early 1990s. But his entrepreneurial spirit and drive soon took him to bigger and better things. By his early 30s he had established his own property development business. Then in 1996 he got his big break with Wizard, when he approached some mortgage broker friends about the business idea.
Back then, Mark Bouris said to his friends: “If you put your skills together with my investment, I’ll use my background to take us into the origination market [underwritten loans].” He made a big name for himself in the financial world, and Wizard grew beyond Bouris’ expectations. A big part of that success came down to financiers with big pockets, claims Bouris. “You can’t be a non-bank lender unless you have a financier behind you,” he said. Over the years his backers have included PBL, Deutsche Bank, ABN Amro and GE Money, who finally bought Bouris out in 2004. On February 29 of this year, Wizard Home Loans was sold to Aussie.
Bouris has been very busy since then, most notably becoming an established author, with a book entitled The Yellow Brick Road to Your Financial Security. This then led him to his next and most current venture, financial services firm, Yellow Brick Road. Established in 2007, Yellow Brick Road is a network of independent fee-for-service financial planners and associated advisers, offering financial services and advice to investors of all ages wanting to build financial security for the future. The business currently has 20 advisers, but Bouris has plans to expand the business.
Enter The Apprentice. The 10-part Channel Nine series, based on the highly successful US version with Donald Trump at the helm, documents Mark Bouris’ search for his next apprentice. Each week the apprentices will fight it out to secure a senior position at Mark Bouris’ financial services firm Yellow Brick Road with a handsome six-figure salary.
According to Channel Nine, the show is “the ultimate reality series as a group of aspiring young businessmen and women go head-to-head in a competition that will see one person secure a six-figure salary and the opportunity to work under Mark Bouris, one of Australia’s leading businessmen”.
While some at first may have thought Bouris was a bizarre choice for the television show, he has quickly proven to be a viewer favourite, oozing charm, sophistication, and professionalism while bringing “a distinctive Australian flavour to the show,” as he told the Daily Telegraph earlier this year. In just two short episodes, he has shown Australians that he is a straight-talking, no-holds-barred, savvy businessman who won’t take crap from anyone.
For more information about Mark Bouris and his time with Wizard, please refer to: Mark Bouris, at work with Wizard.