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Know Your BDM: Gareth Heywood, Precise and Kent Reliance for Intermediaries

  • 16/04/2024
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Know Your BDM: Gareth Heywood, Precise and Kent Reliance for Intermediaries
This week Specialist Lending Solutions is speaking with Gareth Heywood (pictured), business development manager (BDM) for Precise and Kent Reliance for Intermediaries.

Which locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at Precise and Kent Reliance for Intermediaries?

I work across the North West of England, which includes cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Lancaster, Chester, Bradford and Blackpool.

Over my area, I have just over 500 active broker firms in the last 24 months.


What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?

In order to be successful in a BDM role, I think it takes a combination of skills. It’s about building strong and long-lasting relationships with brokers by being genuine and caring about achieving a positive customer outcome.

My approach also needs to be flexible, and it really helps by working across two brands. It’s vital to go into a case with open eyes, working in partnership to achieve a solution, which can make all the difference to getting a case over the line, and conversation is always key.

Kent Reliance for Intermediaries is perfectly placed for the more complex cases and the common-sense underwriting from our in-house expert team work on a manual approach, allowing flexibility to look for solutions outside of standard criteria for the right cases.


What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?

I would definitely say that I need to get better at delegating. Being out on the road means you have to be extremely organised with your time and realise that you can’t do everything, but this is where our office BDM support is paramount.

Each BDM is paired with their own dedicated office-based BDM, which means together we can work across our patch really effectively as we both know our brokers and their cases inside out. Vijay Badhan is my double in the office and really helps make sure the workload is managed to the best of our abilities, and as such we lean on each other to ensure we’re always delivering the best service to our brokers.


What’s the hardest part of your job?

Time management! It’s an essential skill for any field-based BDM, and no matter how long you have done the role, it always continues to be a challenge. There are so many unknowns; mainly traffic, but also people’s schedules can change at the last minute, there might be no 4G or 5G coverage in certain locations, but you learn to adapt and build in buffer time.


What do you love most about your job?

I love meeting people and helping them find a solution to a challenge. There is a real buzz when you get a ‘thank you’, especially when it’s been a particularly tricky case. I also love the range of deals that I get involved in; there’s great satisfaction in a case completing, no matter if it was simple and straightforward or complex, it’s all about being able to make a real difference.

Luckily for me, I love to be out and about too, which is pretty much essential if you do this role!


What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given? Who gave it to you?

It was actually from my best mate who was ill for around four years and subsequently diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, which led him to feel that life really was too short. He was a quantity surveyor and, after this, it made him want to get involved in the biggest projects he could, so he decided to move to Dubai so he could do just that.

I went out to visit him and, while I was there, he made me create a business plan of how to get the job of my dreams and present it to him. This was in July 2017, and by December 2017, I had taken the leap into a field-based BDM role.

I was then contacted by someone at OSB Group about a vacancy, so early in 2018, I started doing my dream job – a field-based BDM for Precise and KRFI. When something life-changing happens to either yourself or those around you, people react in different ways, and for me, it was the catalyst to push as hard as possible to make things happen.


How do you keep up to date with developments in the market?

I read industry press like Specialist Lending Solutions every day and keep my ear to the ground for updates to legislations and policies. I feel that if I arm myself with a holistic view and understanding of the marketplace, it really helps me to explore different opportunities for brokers and their customers.


What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?

It would have to be an extremely luxurious residential property worth around £5m located in Oxfordshire. It was architecturally striking, as it was an ultra-modern glass building with an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

The case was to pay off a bridge and convert to a long-term finance deal, requiring the use of salary and net profit for a loan of £4m at 80% loan to value (LTV). The customer’s source of wealth/funds had come from a chain of mini markets that were sold to fund the deposit on the property.

I had to present this case to our internal Transactional Credit Committee (TCC) for pre-approval, which helped provide peace of mind for the client that their case would be accepted.

It was one of those properties that comes up in your workload every so often that really grabs your attention, as it was a stunning home and something most of us only dream about, so it was a really interesting case to work on.


Tell us about your trickiest case – what happened and how did you resolve the problem(s)?

This one is a recent case actually and involved a professional footballer. It was tricky for a number of reasons, one being complex income – as the footballer only had 18 months left on their contract – challenges around the length of mortgage, as well as there being an issue with the property, as it was debatable if the property was classed as being in a liveable condition.

To overcome these hurdles and complete, we had to dig deeper with regards to their profession and the HR director confirmed they would be offered a coaching role once their contract came to an end. We were able to get the mortgage term to 23 years and, based on the work the customer did to their previous property (full renovation), we were able to show they had the knowledge and experience to turn this property into a home.

I had always wanted to work in financial services and was a mortgage broker prior to my current role. Speaking to the different BDMs who came to visit the broker firm really helped me to understand what life would be like before I finally took the leap towards my own BDM career.

I’ve always been told that if you concentrate on what you are good at and really home in on your skills, then it can be achieved. Like I mentioned before, I really enjoy meeting people and love to talk, so using these skills in the BDM role is a natural fit.


If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?

I’d love to be a property developer. I have renovated some of my own homes and just love seeing the potential that properties can provide. I think it’s the whole start-to-finish journey too; watching a property transform is very special and satisfying.


What did you want to be growing up?

I was and still am very active so I had dreams of being either a footballer, surfer or tennis player. I lived in Australia for four years, which is where my love of surfing came from, but also being a kid in the 80s is where my interest started in tennis, with John McEnroe being top of his game. I still love to get out surfing now, although the UK water is a little colder, but there are fewer sharks!


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

It would have to be reading people’s minds. Not only would it be really interesting, but it could make my job a lot easier too.


What is your strategy for tackling challenges?

Always aim to get the full story of a case as soon as you can, as the devil really is in the detail. A granular level of information can help to mitigate possible issues and saves everyone time and stress in the long run.

I also try not to just see the obstacle; it’s about thinking about the end goal and finding ways to get there.


And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

Professionally or personally?

Personally, someone asked me to sign an autograph thinking I was Chris Martin from Coldplay; even after telling them numerous times, they didn’t believe me so I ended up signing a notebook.

Professionally, there are always lots of questions, but I don’t see them as strange, just interesting. We all have different levels of knowledge and I’m really happy to share what I know as well as learning from others – after all, conversations are what makes life interesting.

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