How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover everything north of Stoke across both coasts, including Lincoln, Derby and Nottingham, so any brokers within that territory that could access us fall under my remit. Right now this is probably around 500 to 600 advisers and broker firms. However, as we’re a new business which continues to grow its distribution, that number will rise over the coming months.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
Communication is key. Making sure I have regular face-to-face appointments with brokers and key accounts is very important. So too is ensuring we’re regularly checking messages and returning every call and email within 24 hours.
What issues come up time and time again?
How lending score cards work is often a cause for confusion for many advisers. There are a lot of myths and misnomers out there with regards to what a credit score is and what it does and every lender has its own measures that it scores people against, so a pass with one lender might mean a fail with another and vice versa. It can be tough for people to get their heads around, so it is always worth asking your lender BDMs how they work.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
My role requires that I work on a mobile basis four out of five days per week. Maintaining strong client relationships is of the utmost importance to me and, as I’m often travelling to meetings in various locations across the country, my hands-free headset has been a must-have. So, if you have an urgent enquiry it’s best to call me.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Ensuring you go the extra mile for clients is an important quality in a good BDM. Doing more than buying a bottle of wine at Christmas or a tin of biscuits every now and again will leave a lasting impression on clients and so will an ability to add value to the business across multiple channels. People appreciate someone who takes the time and effort to really understand them and gets stuck in. I try to make sure I do that on a daily basis.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Because I am often out on the road supporting brokers and key accounts, by phone is always the best point of contact for me. If your matter is less pressing and you can wait up to 24 hours for a response, you can get in touch via email.
If you need to get in touch with the wider mortgages business, we also have a telephone support team that can be reached on our office line.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
The attitude toward interest-only borrowing, which has led to interest-only mortgages being unavailable to most. I was lucky enough to take out my first mortgage when I was 19 years old. The house I bought was a one-bedroom starter home and was never going to be my home for long. It was expected (as was the case at that time) that I would continue to move homes as my life evolved.
My adviser at the time recommended an endowment mortgage and I still maintain it was the right mortgage for me, then and now. For those that remember how the repayment curve works from their CeMAP days, stopping and starting new C&I mortgages regularly would have just meant that I was virtually paying an interest only mortgage.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
Like many others in this industry, I fell in to financial services by accident. I got into business development by starting out as a diary planner for my branch manager, arranging appointments for him to visit intermediaries. Eventually he decided that it was easier just to send me out – it wasn’t really a choice, more of a series of fortunate events that led to me being a BDM. Luckily, I took to it like a duck to water and I love it.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
By having a very efficient contact strategy. I like to, where possible, meet as many people face-to-face as I can. Getting in front of brokers and really understanding what they need is invaluable.
Equally, I also make sure I’m in regular contact by email and phone to consistently remind brokers that I’m available and ready to support them.
How do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Maintaining good internal relationships comes down to spending the time to get to know the people you work with on a personal, as well as professional, level. This is especially important with a brand-new team like ours and I’ve recently organised our first team night out to get that process going.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
A client once asked: “Can you provide income protection if I was kidnapped by pirates?” At the time, I was working in the insurance sector with a brokerage firm that specialised in getting insurance for people who were difficult to cover. The client was an oil rigger working off the coast of Africa, who had to ask the question because of a recent spike in pirate kidnappings.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
Strangely, I wanted to be a typist for the council when I was growing up. Fortunately, my typing skills are a strength that has really helped me through the years. I type faster than I talk and, with an unending list of tasks to complete, it helps to be able to work quickly.