How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
Hundreds. I make it a point to remember as much about each individual broker as possible so that I can personalise communication and gear each response to their particular need or speciality.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
Brokers always come first. I endeavour to reply to broker case queries as soon as they come in whenever possible. Having been a broker, I am aware that time is of the essence when it comes to responding to clients. After that, my time is spent organising face-to-face meetings in order to strengthen existing relationships with advisers and firms as well as to develop new relationships.
What issues come up time and time again?
We offer individual underwriting which means we will look at every case on its own merits. That doesn’t mean that every case will be approved so it’s important for brokers to understand that while I will go to battle for a case that’s worthwhile, I can’t bend policy to make everything fit. It’s vital to strike a healthy balance between actively promoting a case that will work, and graciously backing down when it won’t.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
That I am available to them as an advocate and that I will do everything I can to get their case through whenever possible. I will always take their suggestions on board and present them to underwriting. I will work with you to support your client but I don’t write lending policy myself, I can only influence it occasionally.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Responsiveness. Getting back to brokers in a timely manner with the correct information is priceless.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Email is best. We also have a dedicated intermediary help line for case updates and criteria queries.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would implement a policy that ensured that clients advised on a particular course of financial action could trust that the advice was completely unbiased and fully in their best interest.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I love meeting people and forging mutually beneficial business relationships with them. I enjoy being the face and the embodiment of Marsden Building Society because our values are so similar: friendly, open and honest. I enjoy solving problems and devising solutions that satisfy everyone involved.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I see and speak with them on a regular basis and show a genuine interest in them, their clients and their overall business objectives. That’s the heart of what I do. Having criteria knowledge and business acumen is the foundation for being a great BDM; putting brokers at ease and having a laugh when appropriate is the icing on the cake.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I think that it’s vital to understand each person’s individual role, whether an underwriter, a packager, operations manager or head of lending, for example. Everyone has their own unique part to play and everyone is deserving of respect for what they do. Furthermore, it’s easy to get on with your co-workers when they’re so knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, and very friendly and helpful to boot.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
“Will I have to pay international calling rates to speak to you?” (I have an American accent.)
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
An architect. I was fascinated with houses as a child. Now I’m part of the process that makes it possible for people to own them.