How many brokers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently cover Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East postcode area.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
The “big rocks, little rocks” approach from the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People really helps me prioritise and seems to work most of the time. I’m a bit old school and it’s a well-known fact that technology and I have a love hate relationship. I need to write things down and use daily to do lists.
What issues come up time and time again?
Offset mortgages and the perceptions of how complicated they can be come up frequently. A big part of my role is to ensure that brokers have all the relevant information and tools about our proposition to give them confidence to recommend our products and services. It’s about keeping things simple.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
As I cover a large area I’m on the road or in meetings most of the time. I’m not great at multitasking when driving and my boss will probably back me up on that.
It can be difficult to concentrate and discuss new enquiries while negotiating which exit the satnav says you should take – not to mention keeping one eye on the road. If I can’t get back to you straight away, leave a message and I’ll come back to you as soon as I can.
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
Both IFAs and BDMs are the middle men and women, trying to do the right thing for the client as efficiently as possible and as such we depend upon third parties and are also relied upon to deliver the best outcome.
I think it is really important that we manage expectations as transparently as possible and get back to people as quickly as possible, even if the answer is no. Knowing who to contact within your organisation to assist and where to escalate any issues, is paramount.
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
We have a dedicated intermediary support team on hand to help if you need assistance and can’t get hold of your BDM. Alternatively drop me an email.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
Wow, that is a question. I’m not sure, but perhaps they could look at how offset mortgages could be factored into a financial or mortgage adviser’s fact find and recommendation summary to assist in making clients aware of how the long-term savings of offsetting may add up for them.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I’ve worked in financial services for more than 25 years and have had various roles, mainly in the advisory space. I fell into this role as the next step up and had been offered the choice of business development or risk.
I like this role as it is more of a support role and although I’m not directly advising a client, it is rewarding knowing that by providing a broker guidance on our lending policy, I have helped someone get the home of their dreams.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I think communication is key between both parties. Knowing how best to get in touch and if I’m not available, having clear instructions on who to go to for help in my absence. Also, making sure you manage expectations and get back to someone before they have to chase you.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I’m fortunate that I don’t live too far from our head office in Edinburgh and I make a point of going in and spending time there when I can. This helps immensely in directing enquiries to the right people, when assistance is required.
I also think it’s important to congratulate someone on a job well done so encourage brokers to let me know if they have any positive experiences with my colleagues that they’d like to share and I can feed this back to my team managers.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
If I were head of the FCA for the day…
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I’m really sporty and love being outdoors, so really wanted to be a PE teacher. Clearly a BDM was the next alternative.