How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover the whole of the North of England and look after all directly authorised brokers and appointed representatives in the region. I visit around 20 regular supporters as well as firms that want to find out more about working with us. I speak to many more over the phone and am supported by our Telephone BDM’s based in our London office.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
With that size of the territory and number of brokers I support its vital I plan my weeks and days to make sure I can service their needs. I book face-to-face appointments in advance but also set aside time during each day to be able to respond to broker emails and telephone calls. Our service and accessibility is really important to us.
What issues come up time and time again?
I get a lot of questions around criteria and flexibility, being able to treat each case scenario on an individual basis means that we can take an individual view on things. Our focus is on customers such as the self-employed, who are not well served by major high street lenders and therefore find it difficult to get a mortgage.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
The majority of brokers understand that I’m here to support them with their enquiries and help them grow their business by helping more customers. They understand and respect that I’m not the underwriter and don’t have all the information to make the final underwriting decision, but I’ll keep them updated so they can manage their customer’s expectations.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Good communication, a real understanding of brokers’ business, honesty and accessibility.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
By email or they can leave me a voicemail. They can also call our broker support team in our head office and they have direct access to underwriters. We pride ourselves on our fast response times so we do our best to get back to brokers as soon as possible.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
More attention needs to be given to the significant portion of the UK workforce who struggle to access lending due to their complex financial circumstances. Despite the nature of the UK workforce changing significantly over the past decade, many mainstream mortgage lenders have failed to update their attitudes to borrower profiles to keep pace with this evolution. With the help of the FCA, the position of those who need specialist lending could be greatly improved.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I have been in financial services my entire working life, starting off as a IFA and then moving on to work for a number of high street lenders. I have a passion for engaging with people and this role allows me to work alongside brokers to achieve positive results for them and their customers.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I like to really get to know their business and the customers they deal with. Most importantly, I like to keep in touch.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Being on the road can make it difficult to do this but at Bluestone we work hard to make sure we work as one team. We use technology to help overcome the miles between us and have video conferences twice a week and all meet in the London office monthly. Social events are also a great way to build solid relationships too.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
There have been a few over the years, but when I started at Bluestone I was asked if I would like to audition for the role as the Bluestone Singing Cowboy.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I have always wanted to be a famous musician. I come from a large family of talented musicians and it is something I have had the pleasure of being involved in from a very early age. I performed professionally in a soul band abroad for a couple of years after leaving university and it was a great experience.
Maybe that’s why I was asked to be the Bluestone Singing Cowboy?