How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
A lot. I cover the region of the M4/M5 corridor, which is a pretty big area, all the way from Cornwall to Birmingham, and of course South Wales.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business daily?
Having been in the industry for a few years, in varying roles, I have always understood the importance of being well organised. So, I travel everywhere with my laptop and phone to keep on top of emails. And what else? Oh yes, my credit card.
What issues come up time and time again?
Depends on the day, but normally the M4 traffic coming out of Cardiff, especially on match day. The most common questions are around criteria and guidance, and to understand our product offering. Brokers tend to look for reassurance because they know it’s often their client’s last chance and so you’d expect they want to get it right.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I think most brokers understand the role of the BDM and therefore they do value the relationship. Plus I have always found if you say you are going to do something then you must do it, it’s that simple. Brokers need to feel they can trust you.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
Understand the broker and the business that you are dealing with and value the business you receive from that broker. Yes, being a good communicator, being well organised and getting back to a broker are key, but for me, tenacity is a vital attribute that is underestimated. If the broker knows that you are there to help them get their case through then it’s often rewarded with loyalty.
When you’re unavailable to contact by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
I always tell my brokers that if I’m not immediately available they should leave a voicemail. Now I also have my regional account manager, Dhiraj, who is my right-hand and based in Birmingham. He’ll be in regular contact with brokers as well and he is on hand to help with access to case notes.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I wouldn’t change anything, to be honest. We’ve all been through so many changes to regulation over the years that the last thing anyone wants is me stepping in and meddling with it all. The only thing is make the FCA more aware of the role of brokers, the pressures they face, and to acknowledge the critical importance of specialist lenders. In my experience most brokers would say they just want a simple set of rules and a level playing field.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
Having started my career in retail I have a strong understanding of the value of customer service and customer retention. So for me the financial services industry gave me the opportunity to build on my initial retail management background into business development.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
By listening. I go out of my way to devote as much time as I can to brokers to understand the finer details of their cases, so I do the best I can for them. I often find that if you do what you say you are going to do, then brokers will be loyal to you. There is a lot of competition within the market and I value their business.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
Biscuits and cakes often works. Our operation is built on teamwork, something I noticed on my first day. The key is knowing the right people at each stage of the process and making sure they understand my role and region within the business, and likewise I do what I can to understand their role.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I was asked to give a presentation to my peers to talk about successful customer service, sales, customer retention and the way I communicate with my brokers. I described what I do as magic, and two days later a colleague asked if I was available for his daughter’s eighth birthday party. Let’s be clear though, I cannot perform any magic tricks.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
Taller. No, seriously, I wanted to be a professional footballer, and although I put in a lot of training hours I was never quite good enough. These days I’m more of an armchair pundit.