What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently support approximately 100 broker firms across my area which broadly covers Greater Manchester.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
The biggest factor in maintaining excellent relationships is to provide a high-quality service. This means returning calls, responding to email quickly and going the extra mile to be helpful. An excellent BDM can be a crucial factor in where a broker places business.
What personal talent is most valuable in doing your job?
Integrity. To gain credibility and the trust of brokers, a good BDM must be honest, sensitive, empathetic and knowledgeable in all relevant areas. They should be keen to support the broker in every way possible and therefore provide the highest level of service. In my view, all these things define integrity.
What personal skill would you most like to improve on?
Technology. Online tools like LinkedIn are increasingly playing an important part in communicating with brokers, so I’m developing my knowledge to ensure that I can keep pace.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
A negative situation always provides an opportunity to gain credibility. For example, if a broker is unhappy about something, pick up the phone and speak to them urgently. This shows that you care and are prepared to hear their views and then do what is required to resolve it to their satisfaction. The BDMs most respected by brokers are the ones who immediately take ownership for the situation and resolve it quickly.
What is the most interesting/memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?
I have had a few high-profile professional footballer cases, however, the ones that tend to linger in the mind are the relatively small cases where we help someone secure their dream property when they thought it might not be possible. Last year, a client had experienced some adverse credit and was struggling to find a lender to take them on at 95 per cent loan to value. The broker contacted me and we managed to get it agreed. We made the broker look like the hero but, more importantly, made the client’s dream come true. The feedback from the broker was truly moving.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I would find a way to make compliance requirements for brokers easier. While it is necessary to safeguard clients and ensure they are fully informed, many brokers believe it has gone a little too far and often leaves less time to write more business.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
It provides an opportunity to make a very tangible contribution to the business. BDM relationships with brokers are key to obtaining business and brokers will tell you that a good BDM will offer them more confidence in using a lender. Also, despite all the changes and improvements in technology over the years, one thing has remained constant – it is still a people business and nothing can replicate that. What I love more than anything else is to get to know my brokers, understand their business and offer solutions that help their clients. I have brokers who will be my friends after I hang up my BDM boots.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
If I fancied a change, I would be a mortgage broker. It is a tough business but extremely rewarding as brokers play the central role in helping clients achieve their dreams. They deal with the estate agent, the lender, the solicitor, sometimes an accountant and often other parties, and take on that responsibility to remove all the stress away from their clients and give them the best possible solution.
What did you want to be growing up?
A professional cricketer, but the glamour of the BDM world was too much to resist.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
If I could fly like Superman to my broker meetings, it would be so much better than being stuck in traffic jams around Manchester.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
While in mid-flow explaining our key USPs, one female broker who I was meeting for the first time interrupted me and said excitedly: “Oh my God, your eye lashes are amazing. How do you get them like that?” And of course, it is true – they are amazing.