How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently cover the majority of the South East of England and London, looking after a broker portfolio of over 500.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
The first thing I do in the morning is check my emails. This is an absolute priority as I can then get a handle on what I need to be doing during the day. After all, real life happens and you never know when a meeting may be cancelled or added at the last minute. On top of this, I ensure that my diary is at least three or four weeks ahead of schedule so I can stay on top of my game continuously.
What issues come up time and time again?
The biggest issue I face is confirming face-to-face appointments. I understand that everybody is busy and working to their own agendas, however, it’s important to ensure relationship builders and face-to-face meetings are a priority. The key is to try and align schedules, so I try and book a block of several meetings in the same area on one day. Yes, it may sound like common sense, but it can be difficult to orchestrate.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
The number of people I communicate with on a daily basis. I try my absolute hardest to respond to any enquiries sent to me via phone or email in the same day, but it can be difficult, especially when out on the road.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Honestly, there isn’t just one. Excellent time keeping, honesty and feeling comfortable with speaking freely are all important. Some people may find it awkward being upfront, but it’s important to cut through the fluff and tell it as it is. There’s no time for messing about.
It’s also important to be friendly. Yes, it sounds cheesy but being a friend to the broker with the willingness to try and help, not hinder, can go a long way. Being able to tailor your personality to each broker is also key – engage with their likes and interests and understand what an appropriate topic of conversation is.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
I regularly check email, or failing that, brokers are always welcome to pick up the phone and call the intermediary helpdesk. It is always monitored and the team are in the best position to be able to track me down.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
The big one for me is to change the buy-to-let market, especially the current calculations. It’s a confusing marketplace and I think it’s important to streamline and simplify it.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I started my career in Halifax as a customer adviser when I was 17 and worked my way up to branch manager, ahead of my move to Newbury Building Society. I was looking for a new challenge, but conscious that I had never worked on the introducer side of the business before. It was something I was eager to get my teeth into as I believed my personality fitted the specific model of working. For example, I would much rather be out and about meeting people, rather than sitting in an office doing the same thing over and over again. It’s the variety of jobs and networking with different people that I was attracted too, and ultimately why I made the move.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
By ringing them every week without fail – or at least trying to – and booking in a face-to-face catch-up once a month. I think of it as working with friends, and plan my meetings to reflect this. I also utilise social media, such as LinkedIn, to touch-base with brokers as it’s a channel that is increasingly growing in importance.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
By respecting the team and working as one collective unit. It’s important to understand that you have to support them for them to be able to support you. I also take the time to work closely with any new BDMs who join the team. I make an effort to help mentor new staff so they feel comfortable with what they’re doing and how best to work with brokers – the first couple of meetings can be daunting after all.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
It was over lunch and I made the mistake of answering a call mid-sandwich. The other person on the end of the phone requested a detailed breakdown of what exactly was in my sandwich – right down to what kind of spread I was using! I think he approved of my choice and it was a great ice-breaker.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
Wolverine from X-Men.