What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I cover the South Coast from Dorchester in Dorset to Brighton in Sussex, which includes a few packagers and several hundreds of broker firms across postcodes; DT, BH, SP, SO PO, BN, RH and CR.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
For me, the best way to meet brokers for the first time is by face-to-face appointment. The personal element is an important catalyst in the relationship building process. A distinct second best is a video call and third is on the phone. This might be obvious, but since lockdown and the way many people now work, whilst we can cater for all preferences, the old-fashioned way is the best when it comes to forging working relationships.
I aim to provide the highest levels of service that I would expect from a BDM myself. That is what brokers demand. This job isn’t rocket science. Good and enduring relationships are built on trust. For example, you answer the phone when it rings, and if you can’t pick it up then you return the call as quickly as possible. Then, you do what you said you were going to do in the timescale you said you were going to do it. This is common sense and good manners.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Integrity, my desire to problem solve and my passion for providing the best service I can.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
Presentation skills are very important, and we can always work on our skills to improve them. We run broker events, round tables and the like and you need to make an instant impression to grab the attention of the guests. Our head of strategy asked me to sing a song for 60 seconds at an event. That certainly attracted attention. Based on broker feedback, my answer probably should be to improve my singing.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
Give up your dream of being a professional footballer. In fact, I have recently taken up playing rugby union, but purely for recreation.
What is the most interesting/memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?
In a previous role, I was involved in a second charge bridge for a footballer, and more recently here at Family, we helped a couple of older borrowers with a pound-for-pound remortgage at their end of their current mortgage for a loan of £700,000 against a £4m home. This probably would not have gone through affordability on the basis of income multiples, but we were comfortable that the monthly cost fell within their disposable income and as such we found the solution which worked and made the broker and client very happy.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
I think my regulatory change might actually fall under the PRA. It is income multiples. I believe in lenders having robust and adequate measures in place to responsibly calculate affordability; however, I think a rudimental income multiple cap is unnecessary. It unfairly penalises those with lower outgoings and no dependents the most. As well as, of course, the self-employed, those on short-term contracts, as well as those making career changes. Stress testing is a good thing and makes sense, not an arbitrary and often irrelevant income multiple cap.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I have this weird passion for talking about mortgages – just ask my wife – I enjoy being able to spend my time talking to other industry professionals about mortgages and their potential cases.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
Either an underwriter or a mortgage adviser. I have always been interested in property finance matters.
What did you want to be growing up?
A footballer, the main problem was that I was no good at it. In fairness, I am a keen Brentford FC fan, and when I grew up watching them in the lower leagues, neither were they. When I was growing up, I was good at maths – and my mother wanted me to become an accountant.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Definitely the ability to fly.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Have you ever been told you look like Zac Efron? I cried with laughter… Normally I’m likened to a fat Hugh Jackman.