How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I have just secured a new role which means I look after 1,121 advisers across 674 firms based in and around Bristol, Bath and Dorset. It sounds quite daunting, but I also love the challenge.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
After my previous roles as a mortgage adviser and branch manager I am highly organised and have adopted the ‘drop, delay, delegate and do’ method. This has worked brilliantly for me to date and means the vital tasks are always prioritised. I make sure that I answer my phone as a priority and respond to emails between calls.
What issues come up time and time again?
The nature of a BDM’s role and a broker’s role means they are always in a meeting or travelling so telephone tennis is a daily occurrence but we have our telephone BDMs to help, and I respond to emails between calls. Questions around complex criteria or questions regarding our policies i.e. tenure of flats, affordability or portfolio landlords also come up again and again.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I feel brokers already have a great understanding of the role, and we ultimately have the same goal. We’re all working to help clients purchase their dream home, make their investment or save them some money. If you didn’t have this emotional connection with the client you couldn’t do the job that we do.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
I feel knowledge is key, so understanding lending policy and criteria is really important. Also, as clichéd as it may sound, ’time is money’ to a broker so if you can answer a query straight away, and give them a decision, then this will increase your credibility.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
We are extremely lucky in BM Solutions to work a dual contact strategy so there is a field BDM and an office BDM for every patch. We prompt all brokers to copy both BDMs into emails and whoever is free first will respond.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
First I would say no more changes, as we have had so many since the Mortgage Market Review in 2014, I think we are all suffering change fatigue. I would walk a day in the life of a mortgage broker to try and understand how the changes have not only impacted the broker but also the client.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I have worked within banking for more than 10 years and have found being a mortgage adviser one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever done. The opportunity to stay within mortgages and build relationships with external clients and stakeholders ticked every box and was the perfect next step for me.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
I believe a good personality really helps, so being able to have some banter and engaging with people on a human level will get you far. Credibility and knowledge of systems, criteria and processes really embeds that relationship. An understanding of the broker world, including the good, the bad and the ugly, is also invaluable.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
This is absolutely vital for all aspects of the role. Having key internal stakeholder relationships can make my working life easier which translates into making the broker life easier. In most cases, these colleagues are also friends so they understand the pressures of the role and really want to make my life easier, and so do I in turn.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Believe it or not, the strangest question was ‘Are your eyes real? They are really light blue, almost grey. The answer is they are – luckily I don’t have to pay for expensive contact lenses.
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I’m a massive tennis fan, so I really wanted to be a professional tennis player, and to win a Grand Slam, preferably Wimbledon. I had all the will and determination but sadly lack the talent – the Williams sisters don’t have anything to worry about.