What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
After joining the BDM team in July this year, I was allocated the South Coast and South Wales which covers; Southampton, Bristol, Bath and South Wales. Across this area, I look after a total of 1,555 individuals at 601 broker firms.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Communication is central to the BDM role. It’s about having the ability to connect with people on differing levels who each have their own topic knowledge and preference on how they like to be communicated with, e.g. phone, text, email, online chat, etc. This also includes being a strong active listener too, having the ability to pick up exactly what’s needed, when its needed by and assisting them in the best way for them.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
I find I’m learning something new every day and an area I‘ve been working on in particular is time management. As a BDM, you’re often working against the clock and you can find that something will come up without warning too. Of course, this is a skill that I’m always developing, and the workshops offered through OSB Group really help teach different strategies to help which have been really useful.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
After being part of an office-based team and now being on the road, I’m adjusting to life as a BDM and developing my ability to work more independently across my areas. Due to the nature of the BDM role, we each have patches across the country and as such don’t often cross paths. However, OSB Group ensures we get together on a regular basis to meet, socialise and share best practice which really helps to create that team feel amongst the BDMs.
What do you love most about your job?
This role really does bring a huge sense of achievement. Being able to take a complex scenario that a broker believes has very limited or even no hopes and turning it around into a positive outcome for the client is amazing. This could involve getting an exception granted or a case overturned, especially if it goes to our Transactional Credit Committee. It really does give you an amazing feeling.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you?
When working with the InterBay brand, my previous manager David Boyd said: “The rewards of your career is dependent on how much you put in”. That single sentence has stuck with me and is something I still use to this day.
How do you keep up to date with developments in the market?
I use various methods, from conversations with other BDMs, brokers and colleagues within other lenders, to daily trade press updates and actively seeking information through LinkedIn. This helps me to gain differing perspectives on key news and changes within the specialist sector.
What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
I received a case for a young Netflix actor with complex income streams. They had just completed a contract for a season that was released which meant there was a break in their income. However, between myself, the broker and our in-house underwriting team, we were able to determine and base our lending decision on the likelihood of their contract being renewed. This was a true manual approach to lending which needed the flexibility to look wider than what was on paper.
What was your motivation for choosing this career?
Like many people within this sector, working in financial services wasn’t on my radar when I first started thinking about a career. It’s not a sector that was widely talked about as an option in careers advice at school; those sessions only really included finance in the capacity of accountants or working within a bank branch or mortgage advisors.
I feel that this is now changing which is great, people are highlighting the sector and the endless opportunities. I began working in financial services when I left college and a part-time job in 2016 and I’ve never looked back. It’s a sector full of knowledge, opportunities and development.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
Initially when I joined the bank, I interviewed for two roles – sales (broker liaison) and underwriting admin. I always thought I wanted to be an underwriter – I’d worked in insurance before and had no real perspective of the differences between the fields. Although my career took a turn into a BDM role now, I am still very interested in the underwriting function which is useful knowledge to have being a BDM.
But I think that being an underwriter and having a mandate and being able to put a personal touch on an application that is complicated or for a customer in a difficult situation must be really rewarding.
What did you want to be growing up?
I actually wanted to be an airline pilot. I am a mad aircraft enthusiast. Most 18-year-olds would want to be out with friends for their birthdays, enjoying their first alcoholic drink. I spent mine on top of the carpark at London Heathrow for six hours watching planes land and take off.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
It would have to be teleportation. Having family living in different places around the world, I’d love to be able to see them whenever I want without the hours of flights we have to take to get there.
What is your strategy for tackling challenges?
Staying calm in all situations. By staying calm, it helps me to actively listen and understand the issue and then I can ask questions to understand the challenge and how best it can be resolved. Within this sector, we heavily rely on colleagues and others around us in order to reach a resolution. Within the OSB Group, we have a tremendous level of support from all areas of the business which really helps to overcome issues or complex scenarios.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
I was once asked about minimum floor sizing in a self-contained flat, which in itself isn’t that odd. However, after I explained what our minimum was, I was then asked how this was calculated as the flat in question was 11m2. I discovered that the bed was a board over the bath with a yoga mat on top of it – I must admit, I was a little lost for words.