How many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I’m responsible for a large region in the west of England, looking after 350 broker firms, so diary management is essential in making sure I provide our partners with as much support as possible.
How do you successfully organise and deal with business on a daily basis?
It’s all in the planning but, as every BDM knows, it’s a judgement between being pro-active while having enough space in the day to be reactive. In specialist lending no day is the same and there is always a challenge to be solved.
What issues come up time and time again?
No repeat issues as such but discussing complex mortgages is one of the main conversations I have with my brokers since joining Kent Reliance. I like helping them to structure the rationale and guide or assist them through the submission process.
What do you wish brokers understood about your job?
That the life of a BDM is a hectic one as we’re committed to providing the best service and best outcomes for their clients because essentially, their business is our business. All this is delivered from a variety of glamorous locations including car parks, during breaks at roadshows or while frantically trying to grab a sandwich at a motorway service station.
What do you think is the most important attribute of a good BDM?
There are a few attributes that I think work together to be a good BDM:
- Genuinely caring about and getting to know your brokers’ businesses and their customers,
- Having the knowledge about the industry and your business so that you become your broker’s go to BDM,
- Upholding your business’s values and standards so that your brokers trust you.
When you’re unavailable to be contacted by telephone, what’s the second-best way for brokers to get in touch?
As a lot of my cases are about complex deals, email seems just as good a form of communication to provide the level of detail that I need to act quickly on and can answer in-between meetings.
We also have a broker liaison team that brokers can call, with each BDM having their own buddy on the team.
If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?
To work closer with brokers and lenders as all of us involved in the industry are basically trying to look after the customer’s best interests.
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I progressed into the BDM role within my first job at Mortgage Brain 17 years ago. I remember starting out by helping the sales team put together their packs for roadshows and presentations and took the opportunity to attend as many events as I could, to get a feel for life on the road.
I have gained lots of industry knowledge and experience as a BDM over the past 17 years, but I think I was always looking for a role that had variety – both in terms of the people you get to meet and the work you’re involved in.
How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?
It’s all about trust – that’s the fundamental thing. Your brokers need to be certain that when they pick up the phone you can provide them with the right information or that you have access to people internally who do, and you’ve delivered the best service to them and their client.
And how do you establish and maintain good relationships internally?
I have always developed good internal relationships wherever I have worked and I think this comes down to my curiosity to get to know people and treating everyone on the same level. We are all working towards the same goals, so why not all get on and help each other.
Also, being a field BDM means we are on our own a lot, so building good rapport with colleagues internally helps to remind you that you are part of a bigger team.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
It was a text from a broker some years back:
Broker: Would you consider lending to a client that has been in prison for money laundering?
Me: Are you being serious…?
Broker: Yes. He would really like a 90% LTV mortgage too if that’s possible?
And finally, what did you want to be growing up?
I used to change my mind all the time, but thinking about it, maybe it was to be a BDM – I just didn’t know what one of those was at the time.
I was always pretty corporate and organised, I loved stationary, all my school reports said I talked too much and all I wanted to do was drive from the age I could walk. Add all that together and you can pretty much guess I was training all my life to be a BDM.