Natalie explains the importance of gaining professional qualifications and offers her advice for any aspiring mortgage brokers
How did you get your job?
After graduating, I got a job as a mortgage adviser working for Halifax. After a while, I started studying for the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) but took a break while I raised my children. I then picked it up again, completed the course and made the decision to go self-employed within mortgage 1st, a firm of brokers.
How relevant is your degree to your job?
Although my undergraduate sport development and leisure management degree was not directly relevant to the field of mortgage advice, many aspects of the course proved relevant and useful - particularly client management, business development, communication skills, computer skills and dealing with external clients.
Studying the CeMAP was directly relevant as this gave me the professional accreditation I needed to develop my career.
What are your main work activities?
Now I'm self-employed my working hours fall anytime between 7am and 7pm, and I work around this to suit family life.
In a normal day, I'll carry out client management activities - sourcing new clients and liaising with current ones, completing a range of marketing tasks and analysing client data. I'll create quotes for life and critical illness cover (CIC) protection and home insurance. I'll also respond to buy to let enquiries and offer whole of market advice.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
My role has developed from being a tied adviser to operating freely, providing independent advice UK wide. I am also now a whole of market protection adviser (for employed and self-employed clients), rather than just advising on mortgages.
Running my own business has been a new challenge and I have developed a lot from this.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I particularly enjoy the client contact and helping people achieve their dreams.
What are the challenges?
Having to respond quickly to leads generated through my company can be a challenge when I'm busy juggling my workload and appointments.
Keeping abreast of compliance and criteria changes is essential, as changes occur each day. As a result, the responsibility is high and I have to be careful to avoid misadvising a client.
Any advice for someone hoping to get into this job?
You must work accurately and honestly, so that people trust you. Good communication is also essential; you must be able to deliver difficult messages, jargon free.
Get your CeMAP qualification - this will enable you to develop and progress professionally.
A good adviser looks out for their client, the role has become very customer focused these days rather than sales driven. It's important to inform and educate without patronising, and always tailor advice to suit each individual client. If you engage your client well they will become a client for life.