What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover the North East, primarily Hull to Newcastle and everyone in between.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I try and bring my personality across with every interaction, I listen, tend to make notes for future reference and make myself available as a contact that the broker values. Regular contact works well but it is knowing who needs it and who does not – not all brokers want a BDM to ring every week, they want a contact that is going to be there when they need them.
What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Listening – we were given two ears and one mouth, there is a clue there, which considering I like to talk, it is a constant reminder to do both.
What personal talent would you most like to improve on?
I have previously run a marathon and would love to get back to the level of fitness that is required for another one.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you have ever been given?
I have been lucky to work with some great people over the years. The two best bits were: if you walk past poor performance, you may as well keep walking; and if you make a mistake, own it and how you deal with it will be the making of you.
What is the most interesting property deal you have been involved in?
An 18 year-old applicant went bankrupt. Fast forward four years and she was buying her first home. Getting under the bonnet of the deal was so important – it turns out she went bankrupt because she was made redundant, could not pay her car loan and rather than ask her parents she thought she would try to sort the problem out herself.
Anyway, once we looked at the reasons it happened, it felt like she had tried to take responsibility. Even though she was an ex-bankrupt, it turns out she went bankrupt for £1,000, and had saved nearly that amount to pay to go bankrupt. It is always around the story to go with the facts; common sense has a lot to do with lending.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would look to the actual journey for the customer. What is the added value of a six-page keyfacts illustration (KFI) for the customer – can they demonstrate that it does add value? Also, identity verification: brokers need it, lenders need it, solicitors need it and there are a few irons in the fire to help, but the process is slow and clunky. The regulator should be leading the change rather than reacting to it. I would also want mortgages and finance on the school curriculum as a subject to be taught – again the regulator should be involved in the next generation when it comes to finance.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I fell into it by accident but once I was in I could see the added value of choosing a broker. Often brokers do not advertise and use their back book of clients and for me, this is where they look after their customers and do it really well. I feel those who have a contact strategy with their existing customers do it best – it is certainly how I would want to be looked after as a customer.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I would want to work in shared ownership. It intrigues me and I like reading about the journey that it is on. It previously had a bad reputation but with the changes and the people now passionately involved feel it feels like one to watch.
What did you want to be growing up?
I do not remember wanting to be anything specific although I would have loved to have done something to do driving as I love being in the car. I remember being a passenger in a rally car when I was 11 years old and loved the thrill of it but was totally conflicted because I wanted to be in charge of the steering wheel. That said, none of us in the car would have lived to tell the tale.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would love to fly as there is so much to see in the world. It would enable me to travel the world and see everything on my bucket list.
And finally, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?
“Are you always this enthusiastic?” I love my job, if I did not I would not do it. There is no point getting out of bed and hating your job; we spend more hours at work than we do at home, so to hate it is such a waste. If you can love what you do, it is not really work.