Many of the big advice firms now offer graduate trainee programmes or academies to bring them up to the industry standard, ensure they are fully compliant with Financial Conduct Authority’s regulations and ultimately get CeMAP-qualified.
But what of the soft skills, the mistakes they should avoid and decisions such as whether to become an appointed representative (AR) or directly authorised (DA)? This week’s panel of mortgage intermediaries draws on its own experiences to offer advice to the next generation of mortgage professionals and firms looking to hire new entrants.
Matt Lowndes, managing director, Coreco Group, says firms need to be patient with new starters, mistakes will happen but the end result is worth it.
Lea Karasavvas, managing director, Prolific Mortgage Finance, warns new brokers not to overlook the protection angle, because their competitor will not.
Martin Stewart, director, London Money, talks about the importance of staying power and the joys of self-employment.
At Coreco we are fortunate enough to have had a number of young advisers start their career through our apprentice or academy schemes and what I always tell them is to be incredibly organised, think about what is best for the client, be a social chameleon and be able to read a tube map.
You would not believe how often we’ve had people be late or turn up to the wrong station – how is this possible in the age of mobile apps?
Most important in my view though is managing client expectations. This is such an important factor in creating a strong relationship with the client. Timescales are incredibly important and what you require from a client in order to assist them requires a strong personality.
We tell our new starters, ‘you are the professional, you have the qualifications and you stand by your advice’. We warn them not to ever get drawn into sending off rates without the full facts, as this helps no-one.
I do not believe the decision to becoming an AR or DA holds any particular benefits, what matters most is that the training and support is complete. Firms cannot expect to find the finished article; patience is essential.
Finally, we had a trainee who we asked to send out 200 letters telling clients how we could potentially save them money on their mortgages. All went well and the phones started ringing, however, they weren’t ringing about saving money but about Coreco costing them money. He had posted them without stamps.
There will be knowledge gaps, there will be mistakes, there will be bad client servicing but the reward to the business is huge.
I still think that the career of a mortgage broker is a fruitful one and one that can bring great rewards. The scope for progression is great and it can be a career for life in many respects. It offers scope for employed and self-employed, but the key to the job as all good brokers will testify, is to stay on top of your client database and manage your client bank.
By building a successful client bank, you can effectively ensure that your career is in your own hands. The role of a broker means that as well as benefiting from new business, there is always the opportunity on remortgage business.
As more and more lenders move to paying for retention products, the key to making a career in broking is to stay on top of the timescales of your rate roll offs and ensure you are staying in frequent communication with your clients.
Looking at all areas of advice is also fundamental. Ensuring that your clients have looked at and assessed their protection of the debt as well as the debt itself will also stand you in good stead.
Far too often, brokers will focus on the mortgage business alone and neglect the protection which will not only result in the loss of an income, but potentially the loss of the client’s mortgage as you open up the opportunity for another broker to discuss their future mortgage needs as well as the protection. Ring fencing your clients should be a key part of your client management.
Word up bruv, congrats on the bangin’ 2:2, should keep the crusties and the Feds off your back.
What do you mean I can’t communicate with the kids? Charming. So what would I say to a young graduate coming through and thinking of joining the industry?
What I would say to anyone, and not just a graduate, is whatever you decide to do then for goodness sake stick with it. We live in a world now that’s either delete, swipe left or switch channel, none of which bode well for long-term thinking . Stop chopping, changing and looking around for greener grass. I’ve seen many people come and go in this industry and most of them were better than me. I stuck it out because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and, unwittingly, became an expert as a result.
To any young broker out there I say work for a DA firm or go DA yourself. My epiphany came at the photocopier one day. An employee from head office left a receipt on there clearly getting ready to put an expense claim in. It wasn’t the £150 for the hotel room that irked me. No, it was the £20 for the full English breakfast that sent me mental. It still bothers me now five years later. There I was working long, self-employed hours only for someone to think they deserved a cholesterol fest at my expense.
So to recap. Roll your sleeves up, be your own boss and if you’re hungry, get a sausage sandwich from Greggs.