Canstar Blue Research Team

 

 

Canstar Blue’s Research Team provides the expertise that powers our Star Ratings and Awards, designed to help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions. As Australia’s Most Trusted Comparison Website*, Canstar Blue rates over 1,800 brands over 300 categories, utilising the feedback of over 70,000 Australians to determine the results in our Star Ratings tables, while our Research Team also analyses product features and offerings to determine areas of Outstanding Value and Innovation to help consumers navigate crowded and potentially confusing markets.

Meet the team behind the number-crunching below, and if your curious, learn more about our utilities and consumer products experts in Canstar Blue’s Editorial Team.

Mitch Watson

General Manager, Research and Insights

Master of Business Administration and Management, Griffith University

Mitch WatsonMitch Watson is the General Manager for Canstar’s Research and Ratings area, with responsibility for Canstar’s Research program across Banking, Insurances, and Wealth and Utilities. Through this work, Mitch and his team assist Australian and New Zealand consumers identify products of value through Canstar’s flagship Star Ratings and Awards releases. Mitch’s role at Canstar sees him deliver compelling insights that help people make informed decisions about their personal finances and businesses develop more customer-centric products.

As a finance expert and spokesperson for Canstar, Mitch prides himself on providing balanced views on the latest news in the marketplace, to paint a clear picture for consumers. Mitch’s insights have been featured over the years in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Brisbane Times, along with The Daily Telegraph and The Courier-Mail. He has also contributed commentary to online news sites including Domain.com.au, news.com.au, realestate.com.au, Yahoo Finance, and mortgage broking trade outlets such as Broker News and Mortgage Business. He has also featured on ABC Radio, Seven News (7NEWS) and Nine News (9News).

Mitch has worked at Canstar for over a decade, initially boosting his industry and product knowledge as a Relationship Manager, before moving to the Research team as a Research Analyst. During this time Mitch was responsible for a range of lending and insurance portfolios, including Home Loans and Health Insurance.

Mitch is experienced at analysing detailed financial product data to identify key product differentiators and industry trends across product lines for home loans, health insurance, online share trading and margin lending. He also brings excellent product knowledge across financial topics ranging from deposit accounts to credit cards, business loans, personal loans, risk insurance and general insurance.

Connect with Mitch Watson on LinkedIn.

Joshua Sale

Ratings Manager

Bachelor of Commerce, Economics/Finance dual major, Griffith University. Master of Data Science, Strategy and Leadership, RMIT (ongoing studies)

Joshua SaleJoshua Sale is responsible for developing the methodology and delivering Canstar’s flagship Star Ratings, as part of Canstar’s Research team. With tertiary qualifications in economics and finance, he enjoys helping Australians find more suitable financial products by transforming complex calculations into a consumer-friendly Star Rating that explains the values and benefits of different financial products.

As one of Canstar’s company spokespeople, Joshua has participated in print, radio and broadcast interviews with the likes of the Australian Financial Review, news.com.au and Money magazine, along with other leading media outlets, discussing topics such as home loan equity, banking incentive schemes, digital wallets and wider finance trends.

Joshua is known for his ability to simplify complex products and technical information, crunching the data into meaningful insights for consumers about finance. He has analysed several consumer markets across banking, insurance and wealth, and is keenly interested in various topics, ranging from how Australians interact with their superannuation funds, to the dynamic nature of the health insurance market, and collecting and redeeming credit card reward points.

Joshua believes that knowledge is the first step towards empowerment. Even while studying, he facilitated peer-assisted study sessions for economics, and represented his University’s Business School in an academic committee.

Connect with Joshua Sale on Linkedin.

Henry Harbeck

Ratings Portfolio Lead

Bachelor of Business (Finance) with Distinction, QUT

Henry Harbeck specialises in researching banking products for Canstar’s expert finance Star Ratings and Awards. As the Ratings Portfolio Lead, he mentors our research team through the rigorous research process, which includes investigating and collating a vast array of data about financial providers, their products and Australian consumers’ financial needs and behaviours. Henry and the team then apply a sophisticated methodology which weights and ranks the performance of each product.

Henry relishes the opportunity to help people make better informed financial decisions in a market often characterised as being a complex maze to navigate.

Using Canstar’s comparison data regularly to compare savings accounts and super funds, Henry has used his time at Canstar to make strides towards saving for a house deposit and build towards his financial goals. Henry joined Canstar in 2018 after completing an internship while in his final semester at QUT studying Finance.

Connect with Henry Harbeck on LinkedIn.

Samantha Howse

Consumer Research Specialist

Bachelor of Business (Marketing), Griffith University. Master of Data Analytics, QUT (ongoing)

Samantha-Howse-CanstarSamantha Howse is Canstar Blue’s Consumer Research Specialist, coordinating the consumer research program behind our customer satisfaction awards across Canstar and Canstar Blue in Australia and New Zealand. With seven years in market research and 2 years in marketing, Sam is experienced in survey design, implementation and analysis, coupled with an understanding of marketing principles and best practice.

Currently completing a Master of Data Analytics, Sam hopes to deepen her knowledge of analysis techniques, to be able to pull more stories from our data and provide further insights for consumers to support them in their purchasing
decisions.

Connect with Samantha Howse on LinkedIn.

Keely Robinson

Research Analyst

Bachelor of Business (Finance and Marketing) with Distinction, QUT

Keely Robinson is a Research Analyst in Canstar’s research team, specialising in insurance products and innovation. She applies her knowledge to help make insurance products easier for Australian consumers to understand and compare, helping ensure they are fully prepared for the possibility something unfortunate happens. Through applied technical analysis, Keely supports Canstar’s research team to uncover insights and draw meaning from data to ensure that consumers can make informed decisions about insurance products.

Keely joined the company in July 2019, and spends her days unpacking complexities in technical data to reveal clear and relevant insights for consumers. Her proudest moments have been working on enhancing and developing methodologies for finance products that reflect current trends and market movements to ensure consumers have ratings that are up-to-date and reflective of the current market. 

Connect with Keely Robinson on LinkedIn.

Sam Halpin

Research Analyst

Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), UQ

Sam Halpin is a Research Analyst at Canstar in the specialist research area of general banking products, including savings and transaction accounts, online banking, and travel-related products. With a background in behavioural statistics, Sam collates and analyses data about financial products and services, applying Canstar’s sophisticated Ratings methodology to create its expert Star Ratings and Awards. He was recently instrumental in forming Canstar’s first Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) award regime, designed to help consumers make better financial decisions around this developing finance sector. 

Sam joined Canstar in 2020, and was eager to apply the disciplines and knowledge learned from his study of psychology to helping people navigate the complex world of finance. A highlight of the role has been the ability to apply his product knowledge to avoid some of the common pitfalls associated with choosing the wrong products. 

Since joining Canstar, Sam has extended his knowledge in computer science, currently studying Structured Query Language (SQL). 

Connect with Sam Halpin on LinkedIn.

Christian Wilkinson

Research Analyst

Bachelors of Mathematics (Statistics) with Distinction & Bachelor Business (Finance) with Distinction, QUT

Christian Wilkinson specialises in personal and business lending verticals, including Home Loans, Personal/Business Credit Cards, Personal Loans, and Business Loans. As a Research Analyst who “loves data and a good deal”, Christian helps the research team collate and analyse data used to produce Canstar’s expert Star Ratings and Awards. 

Christian uses his training in mathematics and finance to help demystify the often complex array of products and services currently available to the Australian consumer, shedding light on products people are using which are perhaps no longer as competitive as they thought. Christian relishes the opportunity to have a positive impact on a consumer’s life, with a home loan interest rate even a few tenths of a per cent lower, potentially saving thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. 

He’s put the lessons learned about the financial sector to good use in his personal life too, currently investing in the stock market and saving to enter the property market.

Connect with Christian Wilkinson on LinkedIn.


 

Canstar Blue Editorial Team Image

Learn more about Canstar Blue’s Editorial Team

Canstar Blue has a skilled team of experienced journalists, content writers and subject matter experts dedicated to producing factual, up-to-date and well-researched information.

Meet the Editorial Team

 


 

(*) Source: Canstar Group research, conducted by Qualtrics Dec/Jan 2021/22. n=1075