How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
My area of responsibility covers the North East including Teesside, Durham, Yorkshire, Humberside, Nottingham, Derby and Lincoln. It’s a pretty big territory and I have approximately 1,200 intermediaries on my list, which means lots of travelling and even more time spent on the phone and email.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
I try to prioritise my activities as much as possible, which involves regular to-do lists and plenty of diary planning. However, you can only plan so much. I have to be able to react to situations that require my immediate input, which means constantly juggling my time between diarised appointments and ‘must-do’ activities. But that’s what makes my job interesting.
What issues come up time and time again?
Many of the brokers I talk to don’t deal regularly with the type of specialist cases that Magellan is able to consider. There are still a lot of misconceptions about what can and can’t be done for borrowers with impaired credit records and there is therefore a big education job to be done with intermediaries.
Some brokers understandably believe that the impaired credit market had effectively ‘shut down’ after the onset of the credit crunch, but that isn’t true. Not only are there still many thousands of borrowers who struggle to get a mortgage from a high street lender, but there are also an increasing number of specialist lenders that are able to help.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I’m not the underwriter and do not have the final say in making a decision about their client’s mortgage application. However, I can help broker’s assess if their client meets our criteria and I can help them prepare an application for submission and then help troubleshoot any issues thereafter.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
To have empathy with brokers and to deal with them honestly. A BDM also needs to have a detailed level of knowledge, not just about mortgage products but also about the way in which a lender assesses and underwrites cases. It’s also important for us to understand how a broker’s business work and what their priorities are in life.
BDMs also need to have personality and be fun to deal with. After all, who wants to welcome someone into their office who isn’t going to make their day a bit more enjoyable.
When you’re unavailable to contact by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
By email or via our mortgage help desk. My full contact details and those of my colleagues are available on the Magellan website.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
It’s understandable that regulation was tightened-up considerably following the credit crisis, but the consequence has been a lot of complexity. It would be great if some of the regulations could be simplified and made easier to understand and implement.
I would also try to provide clear guidance about what the regulator is actually looking for.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
This is a people business and I love helping and talking to people and achieving results, both for them and for my employer. I also love the autonomy that a sales manager has: it’s a bit like running your own business.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
By always answering calls and emails and being honest with my answers. I always endeavour to talk to intermediaries on a personal level and try to remember personal details such as when they are going holiday, or when they have an important family event.
My mantra is to under promise and over deliver.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Being pleasant and courteous to my colleagues and appreciate when they are doing a good job.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
‘What has chocolate got to do with mortgages?!’ The broker thought that Magellan’s parent company, Mars Capital, was part of the Mars chocolate company. If only…
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
A flight attendant. Although that’s not a career path I have followed, my job has nonetheless enabled me to see a lot of lovely places throughout the world.