What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently cover all of London and the South East, and at the moment this means I look after approximately 20 firms of advisers. This is likely to expand significantly in the months ahead.
How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
Like most people at the start of the pandemic, and particularly lockdown one, I had to adapt to the new working environment where I wouldn’t be seeing advisers face-to-face. It meant using Teams and Zoom, but also using social media platforms to check in with advisers and follow their activities.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
It sounds such an obvious point to make, but this is really all about relationship building especially when you are a relatively new bank on the block.
It’s about ensuring those advisers are fully aware of what you can offer them both professionally in terms of support, but also in terms of the product range and the types of cases where we can help them most.
In the case of Recognise, it’s about commercial, bridging, professional practice loans, loans for medical professionals, and more recently professional buy-to-let.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
I’m afraid it’s my IT skills – I am certainly not a Luddite and I appreciate how important tech is to the entire process. But occasionally I wish I was an IT whizz.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
Definitely the latter. I like getting out to meet advisers and firms, but certainly don’t miss the traffic jams.
I’ve noticed that as we move forward the traffic gets busier – I think we’ll all make a much more reasoned consideration about the face-to-face meetings we take, whether they are worth spending hours stuck in traffic, or if it’s not simply easier for everyone to carry them out over Zoom or Teams.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Just simply, be yourself. You tend to be a certain type of personality if you’re doing this type of job, and I think if you’re suited to it, then you should be yourself when doing it.
What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
One where the deal had to be delayed because archaeologists were engaged following a discovery of bones when an environmental report was being undertaken. They definitely don’t come round very often.
What has been your lockdown coping strategy?
Trying to keep as positive as I could possibly be. That’s doubly important when working with brokers and advisory firms because they want to know you’ve the energy and spirit to work their case through in the most positive way possible.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
Increase the minimum size for an HMO. It sounds such a simple thing, but it would make a considerable difference in our sector and I think could help fill some of the housing gaps we currently have as well.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
For me it’s always been about the relationships, making new connections, trying to understand what advisers want and how we at Recognise can be the lender that delivers it best for them.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
I would probably be a property developer, to sit on the other side of the fence as it were and to grow a portfolio.
What did you want to be growing up?
Bizarrely, it was to be a bank manager. I’ve got the working for a bank part right now that I’m older, although part of me wonders whether that job will become obsolete in the not so distant future.
What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?
Either a paisley one or the mod target. Both are classy in my opinion.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Maybe it was the one two questions before, ‘What did you want to be growing up?’ although I think my answer would probably be viewed as just as strange.