Just Mortgages restructures employed division to manage growth
Former financial services directors at Just, Tommy Taylor has been promoted to the role of managing director for the eastern division and Duncan Jones will head the western division.
They will each manage teams of employed mortgage and protection advisers and work with the Spicerhaart estate agency chains.
Just Mortgages has grown by around a fifth every year for the past seven years, and the changes to its structure will allow it to provide extra support to its employed brokers.
It also recently expanded the services it provides to include equity release and wealth management alongside mortgages and protection.
Just Wealth launched in January last year and is on track to have 25 advisers by next month.
The wider group has aims to double the number of employed mortgage and protection advisers to 250 and increase its wealth business tenfold over the next year to £30m of business.
Additionally, Just Mortgages grew its division of self-employed advisers, which launched in 2016, to more than 400 advisers by the end of 2021.
John Phillips, national operations director of Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, said: “The team has pulled together in both good times and bad to achieve a truly phenomenal level of growth over the past few years. We have continually grown both the number of clients and the level and frequency of service we provide each client.
“We have done this at the same time as expanding the services that we provide them. Our aim is to grow by providing a truly holistic financial advice service, looking after every part of a client’s financial needs.”
Just Mortgages doubles number of area directors
The number of self-employed brokers working under Just Mortgages recently reached 400, with 100 of those being hired last year.
Each director will be responsible for approximately 30 brokers. The firm said the smaller groups meant directors could spend more time with brokers individually.
Ben Allkins (pictured), head of mortgages and protection for Just Mortgages self-employed division, said: “With the self-employed team expanding so quickly, it was essential we grew the number of area directors alongside. We’ve recently expanded our operations in Wales and Scotland, and brought in a number of experienced area directors to support in these areas.
“Our area directors are an invaluable resource for our self-employed team to tap into. They are all experienced brokers themselves and can advise not just on the professional side of things, but also balancing your home life alongside being a broker.”
He added: “A growing number of our brokers are now looking to set up principal partnerships, and our area directors can support them, giving them advice on recruiting, and how to manage a team of people.
“With our ambitious plans for 2022, it will be essential that we continue expanding the area director team so they can continue to support our brokers to deliver best advice.”
Just Mortgages welcomes 18 to academy
The previous academy record was 12 trainees, and the programme has trained over 65 brokers so far this year. It is the last academy of the year
Trainees will learn the ropes of mortgage broking on a five-week course if they do not have a CeMap 1 qualification. For those that do have this qualification, they join for the final three weeks.
Skills that are built on during the programme include: enhancing understanding of the sales process, building rapport with clients and effective questioning to understand clients’ needs. It also teaches brokers about mortgage protection.
Trainees come from varied backgrounds, including recent graduates from hospitality, dentistry and the estate agent sector.
Head of training Rodney Sloan said: “Competition for places on our academy is incredibly tough. Every course we struggle to decide who deserves a place. Although we could conduct courses with larger groups via video conferencing, we don’t want to compromise on the quality of our training.
“By conducting the training in person, everyone on the course gets time to discuss any queries with the team, and the other trainee brokers.”
He added: “It is a source of massive pride that we support new blood coming into the mortgage industry through our academy, and this year we have trained more brokers than ever before. Next year we will build on this, and continue to bring talent into the sector.”
Those who complete the course will be supported by Heidi Smith, who is the newest member of the learning and development team.
Just Mortgages reaches 400th self-employed broker landmark
In just over 12 months, the division has grown by 100 brokers, with the team breaking the 300-mark in September last year.
Carl Parker (pictured), national director of the self-employed division, said: “Our ethos is that our brokers are on their own, but not alone. This is reflected in the training, advice, and guidance that our team provides.
“Every broker is supported by the training team that provides expert insights, area and regional directors who are on hand to help with day-to-day advice, and a marketing team who help the brokers to bring in new business.”
John Phillips, national operations director for Just Mortgages, added: “We have big plans for not just the self-employed team, but the whole of Just Mortgages.
“The development of the self-employed team has shown we are on the right track. The work that Carl and the team have done has been extraordinary. We’re really proud of not just the way we support our brokers professionally, but also how we look after the person as well.”
The landmark follows the hiring of a new head of mortgages and protection, Ben Allkins.
Just Mortgages launches digital marketing packages to drive broker lead generation
The packages are available to employed and self-employed brokers under the Just Mortgages umbrella. They will have access to the firm’s internal marketing database and social media posts which can be personalised to the broker’s name.
The extended package will offer online digital dashboards, which will help brokers build their online presence. It will also allow them to manage reviews, update contact information and monitor analytics.
Jodie Andrews (pictured), digital marketing manager of financial services at Just Mortgages, said: “During the stamp duty holiday and the wave of clients rushing to purchase a property, understandably, lead generation may have slipped to the bottom of the priority pile.”
She added: “With stamp duty returning, and numbers of clients returning to normal levels, now is the perfect time for brokers to be pushing for leads.
“These new packages will enable the Just Mortgages team to quickly and efficiently promote themselves and help bring in new business.”
Just Mortgages hires self-employed division mortgages and protection head
As part of the role he will manage the strategic direction of the division, improve team efficiency and support brokers.
The self-employed team was launched in 2016 with three brokers, and now numbers close to 400.
The firm said that it will invest £1m into the self-employed division over the next year to upgrade its support and systems. As part of his role Allkins will oversee the investment.
Allkins has worked at Just Mortgages for around five years, most recently as regional director where he supported self-employed mortgage brokers in the Midlands and South West.
Prior to that he worked at Countrywide for nearly 17 years in various senior roles, including financial services director for mortgages. He has also held roles at Royal Bank of Scotland.
Allkins said: “The self-employed division only succeeds if our brokers are successful, so my role is to ensure we invest in areas that make tangible differences for our team.
“While the self-employed team at Just Mortgages already receives industry-leading support, we will look at all the pinch points where we can improve and make changes to make our brokers lives easier.”
Just Mortgages launches mental health support scheme for self-employed brokers
Self-employed brokers at the firm, currently numbering around 390, will have access to a 24-hour helpline and six free counselling sessions provided by Health Assured.
They will also have access to an app to track their mental wellbeing and webinars on self-help advice will also be available.
The helpline can offer support to self-employed brokers on topics such as stress management, financial difficulties, relationship matters and more.
Just Mortgages’ training manager Sian Musial said most people would struggle with mental health in their lives and the firm wanted to create a culture where people can ask for the support they need.
She added that the pandemic had a significant impact on people’s mental health and it was crucial for people to feel comfortable talking about it.
She said: “It’s really important that the advice and support provided comes from outside of Just Mortgages. We do have trained mental health first aid members of staff, but in addition we want our brokers to have the option to speak to someone separate to the organisation in complete confidence.
“The help doesn’t need to be in any way related to work, it’s all about providing care for the individual. All the support is also available to the brokers’ families, as so often when one person is struggling, it will have an impact on those closest to them.”
She added: “We’re really proud of the support we can now provide. We have a moral responsibility and duty of care to all our advisers and through this partnership with Health Assured, we can offer them all a level of support.”
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Brokers were also interested in research around evictions, which suggested that it could take up to a year to evict a tenant and cost over £35,000.
News that John Charcol’s Nick Morrey was moving to Coreco also grabbed readers’ attention along with the announcement that Nationwide’s chief executive officer Joe Garner would leave his role.
Just Group’s introduction of medical underwriting to lifetime mortgages and Natwest updating its product switch function also proved popular.
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Fast acting rate-savvy borrowers beat lenders at their own game – JLM
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Understanding digital marketing is a must for broker success – Just Mortgages
The potential to build your digital presence when you have a strong reputation is high.
A unique insight
Within my role at Just Mortgages, I am afforded a unique insight into the varied needs of brokers. As a result of this, we have been working on the production of a new digital marketing package.
Understanding that not everybody requires the same level of support, the package offers bespoke levels of assistance based on the needs of the broker.
For brokers who are able to make use of a digital marketing package, it is most helpful to seek one that includes access to an internal marketing database which is customisable to include the broker’s name and contact details.
Support should also be geared towards social media content, local business partnerships and advertising. But what’s also important is to have two-way channels of communication between marketing team and brokers.
It is important to streamline processes in order to produce quality marketing online.
Digital marketing shows its value because it presents a broker with the ability to see what is popular, what is gaining traction online, what content is getting the most clicks.
They can then track their activity by using analytics tools to really make sure they are giving their clients what they want.
I love my job because it’s forever evolving, and every day is unique. You always need to have your ear to the ground and to be up to date with what is going on in the world so that your activity within the business is always relevant.
Because of this, it is essential that brokers sign up to regular updates filled with rich content and articles to read or share online so they can stay informed and offer the best advice possible to clients.
Marketing for all
Marketing should be an important part of any broker’s business. If you don’t have the support of a brokerage, network or club, there are still things you can do.
Keep up to date with what is going on in the industry by reading the mortgage trade press. There are many informative articles on all areas of mortgage lending.
Don’t ignore social media as it is a great platform to showcase your business and your skills.
If you can get people to give you good feedback on social media, you will gain more business as people tend to trust recommendations. Social media offers a unique opportunity to connect and build relationships with your clients.
Although it is important to post content to showcase your knowledge, it is just as important to post engaging content which encourages clients to continue to stay connected with you even after they have completed.
Not everything has to be a call to action – client retention is important in the long run.
Video is also a great form of interactive content. There is so much you can do to bring informative and engaging content to your clients and prospective clients.
Discussing trending themes and staying relevant to clients often means that you maintain a connection with them.
Opportunity for growth
When I take a moment to reflect on my time at Just Mortgages, I think of the opportunity for growth. All broker businesses have the potential to grow as people’s needs have changed, due to Covid.
As a marketer, I’m excited to see where the industry will be in a year from now.
Just Mortgages builds on Wales coverage with director appointments
Barry Forrester, previously worked at Embrace Financial Services and Countrywide, and Peter Sadler was running his own self-employed firm. Sadler also formerly worked at Countrywide.
Their responsibilities will be split geographically, with Forrester overseeing North Wales and Sadler covering the south.
Sadler said: “The Welsh mortgage market has been electric for four or five years now. In the south, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport are all attracting a lot of interest.
“With the Welsh market so busy, we’re looking to bring in driven brokers to join our growing team. Whether coming from an employed background, or if they have self-employed experience already, we’ll consider all candidates as long as they have the motivation and determination to succeed.”
He added: “For those that do join, we will give them all the support they need, from setting up a business plan, to advice on generating leads. While they are technically self-employed, they are certainly not on their own.”
Forrester said: “The north of Wales has also become exceptionally busy recently. People are moving from Liverpool and Manchester over to Wales where they can get much more for their money.
“Interest in buy-to-let properties is also driving the market in Wales. In the north there are plenty of opportunities for holiday homes and the rental yield is attractive to investors.”