How many advisers and adviser firms do you cover in your role?
We have over 1,000 firms and almost 3,500 advisers in the South West and South Wales, so opportunity is not an issue. I help firms and advisers grow their income by using general insurance and providing their clients with specialist advice and product suggestions. In the current market, advisers can make a great living on the upfront fees generated by the sale of mortgage and protection products, but general insurance also allows them to build wealth and stability to their business on a long-term basis.
How do you successfully organise yourself on a daily basis?
I spend one day of the week planning and during the rest of the week, I’m hands on liaising with advisers. My evenings tend to be spent sending follow-up information and preparing for the following day.
I’m very fortunate that I work in partnership with a great telephone account manager, Matt Thomas.
What issues come up time and time again?
Time is the biggest issue we face right now as advisers tend to be extremely busy. We can help by sharing best practice as to how the top firms and advisers manage to include general insurance in their sales process and make it an easy method to follow every time. This is where I feel we add the most value.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
I wish advisers understood just how easy it is to build a residual income and in my humble opinion, many are still missing an obvious string to their bow, as their mortgage clients must have buildings insurance.
For this reason, it’s a natural part of the sales process and a service that clients value. The good news is that more and more advisers are catching on and following the recent recession, I believe the industry is more savvy than it’s ever been.
What do you think is the most important attribute in a good BDM?
In one word, empathy. Advisers have a demanding role and it’s important to understand their business, the challenges they face and how to help them overcome barriers.
When you’re unavailable to contact via telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
Our broker support desk is generally the first port of call for advisers. This department has a wealth of knowledge and can help with the vast majority of queries. Beyond this Matt Thomas and the telephone-based team, do a superb job of helping advisers on a day to day basis. However, brokers can of course always leave me a message or email me directly.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what is the one thing you would you change about the mortgage/insurance industry?
To instigate an advertising campaign to the general public. It would focus on the importance of consumers obtaining advice and the value this provides in terms of making the right choices and decisions in their lives. Let’s not forget, most people don’t wake up and want to buy insurance – until it’s too late.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I love helping advisers. Our profession is full of characters and interesting individuals. The one thing that all successful advisers have in common is that they care passionately about their clients and what they do and it’s a privilege to work in this environment.
I’m especially lucky that I work in the South West and South Wales, which is a beautiful area and I love travelling to different places to meet people. Above all is the satisfaction and appreciation I gain by helping advisers to grow their business and income – you can’t beat that.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
At the risk of sounding cheesy, we work consultatively with firms and advisers and develop long-lasting relationships with them. We can make a massive difference to a business and the service advisers provide to their clients, all the while having some fun in the process!
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
To my recollection, I can genuinely say that I have never been asked a strange question. I do have five house rabbits though, so I probably come across as eccentric – enough said on that subject!
And finally, what did you want to be when growing up?
I wanted to play rugby for Wales, as my hero is JPR Williams, which gives away my age. Still, getting paid to work with interesting people and having an enjoyable time doing it isn’t a bad gig.