What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover all of England and Wales, so it’s difficult to put a number on it. I like to develop meaningful relationships too though, so I do try to give quality time to brokers.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
Brokers are at the heart of the market and have fantastic insight so I always want to listen to them. How they perceive the market, where it’s going and most importantly, where our solutions fit with their business.
What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?
It’s personality – people buy from people. People don’t remember interest rates or intricate criteria, they remember the BDM who can take a commonsense approach on things. Being able to be remembered is the most important thing.
What personal skill would you most like to improve on?
Definitely my organisational skills. I’m always spinning lots of plates so it’s trying to remember which plate is the most important. I’ll always get everything done, but ensuring that I prioritise tasks in the right order is something that I could work on.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t be scared of new ideas. I love it when new people join our business from elsewhere because they often bring new ways of working and help to challenge the status quo. We often find ourselves doing things in a certain way just because that’s the way we have always done it and sometimes there are better or smarter ways.
What is the most memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?
I’ll never forget my first ever advised mortgage. It was just post-Mortgage Market Review (MMR) and the first call I ever took. There wasn’t anything particularly special about the case, a standard purchase for a couple buying their first home together in Brighton, but I’ll never forget them and I can still remember the names of their two Labradors. They were over the moon to finally get on the property ladder after years of renting so it was an exciting time for all of us.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I think regulation is key and I don’t like it when people talk about regulation as some kind of barrier to business. That isn’t the point of it at all. I’d just try to make the whole mortgage process easier to understand. For most, a house purchase is the biggest financial transaction they’ll ever undertake and buying a home is always so emotionally charged. So why do we as an industry make it so complicated and hard to understand? There’s so much jargon. If I was in charge for the day, I’d try and make the process much simpler.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I’ve always been a ‘people person’ and I suppose if you combine that with an appetite for competition, you naturally find yourself in a sales role. I love getting the best out of people, whether it’s the people I’ve managed, getting under the skin of a business and connecting with a great new broker contact, or looking after existing key relationships.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
Hard to say, I’ve spent almost all of my career in financial services so I don’t know much else. I’m naturally quite nosy though, so maybe I’d be a specialist bespoke estate agent finding people’s dream homes?
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be a Formula 1 driver seeing the world and driving around in a flash car. I suppose being a BDM is pretty similar? Though footage of me stuck in a traffic jam on the M1 isn’t quite as good a spectator sport as watching Lewis Hamilton doing laps of Silverstone.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I used to watch Bernard’s Watch when I was little. He had this watch that could stop time but he only ever used it to help people out, which as a child I thought was a waste of a power. Now I think I’d probably do the same as there never seems to be enough hours in the day.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I once got asked: “If you had just stirred your coffee with a spoon, would you use the same spoon to stir a cup of tea? Or a different one?” That was on my first day of a new job. The most important thing in any office is a steady supply of caffeinated drinks so the ability to make a good brew will always stand you in good stead.