If you have excellent communication skills, are good with numbers and enjoy helping people, this could be a great career for you

As a mortgage adviser you'll use your in-depth knowledge of the market to find your clients mortgage products suitable for their needs. You'll advise them on the different pros and cons of each product and also help them determine how much they should borrow.

If you're a 'whole of market' mortgage adviser, you may also be known as an independent mortgage adviser or broker. To fit this classification, regulations require that you offer advice on products from the whole of the market (though this will not include products available direct from lender) and offer your customers choice in how they pay for your services.

Types of mortgage adviser

You'll usually specialise in one of the following ways:

  • tied to a single lender - usually working in a bank or building society
  • looking at deals from a limited list of lenders
  • whole of market adviser.

Responsibilities

As a mortgage adviser, you'll need to:

  • meet with your clients in person, or over the phone
  • explain what type of mortgage adviser you are and how you're paid
  • find out about your client's financial situation, including what their monthly expenditure is
  • explain the different types of mortgage and offer products for your client to choose from
  • assess which type of mortgage is most suitable for each client
  • make sure your customers can afford what they're borrowing, not only now but in the future, in the event that interest rates go up or their circumstances change
  • explain about repayments and mortgage protection
  • advise on and sell related financial products, such as buildings or life insurance
  • help clients complete the mortgage application
  • offer some general advice on the home-buying process
  • meet sales targets
  • deal with mortgage lenders, estate agents, and valuers
  • keep up to date with new mortgage products and changes in mortgage regulation
  • respect your client's right to confidentiality
  • follow strict industry rules and guidelines and ensure you give impartial and appropriate financial advice
  • understand the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory requirements and ensure you meet these
  • fully cooperate with any enquiry or investigation from the financial ombudsman should things go wrong, and a client uses their right to protection.

Salary

  • Mortgage adviser basic starting salaries are usually around £22,000 to £25,000. Commission may be paid on top of this.
  • With a few years' experience you can expect to earn in the region of £45,000 to £60,000, including commission.
  • Highly experienced advisers can earn up to £70,000, including commission.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

You'll usually work around 35 to 40 hours a week. You could just work standard office hours, but it's common for the job to involve some evening and weekend work, as you have to fit in around clients' schedules.

What to expect

  • You may be office based or work from home.
  • Frequent local travel may be required for visiting clients, especially for initial consultations, though much of your subsequent work can be carried out by email, phone or text.
  • Work is available in every area throughout the UK, though with potential for greater numbers of clients in towns and cities.
  • The role of mortgage adviser is suitable as a second or career change option, as well as for younger, first-career entrants.
  • An equal number of men and women work as mortgage advisers.

Qualifications

To become a mortgage adviser you must successfully complete the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) course. This Level 3 course is approved by the FCA and is sought by employers as the industry standard.

The CeMAP can be studied independently or with the support of your employer. Many course providers offer flexible study arrangements including distance learning. The course, made up of assessment modules and exams, can usually be completed in a period of anywhere between six months and two years.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) offers the equivalent Certificate in Mortgage Advice qualification, also approved by the FCA.

A degree is not essential for a career as a mortgage adviser, but the following may be useful:

  • accountancy and finance
  • business and management skills
  • real estate.

Entry with an HND is possible. A postgraduate degree is not necessary. A variety of more general finance postgraduate courses are available. There are also a few advanced mortgage advice courses, including the Certificate in Advanced Mortgage Advice. It will help to have good GCSE grades, including maths and English.

You can enter this career through a bank or building society training scheme or an apprenticeship. For information and details of apprenticeship providers, see GOV.UK Apprenticeships and the Institute for Apprenticeships.

Most employers will expect you to have a credit check and a criminal records check, which they'll arrange for you.

Skills

You'll need to have:

  • excellent communication and listening skills
  • the ability to explain complex information clearly
  • the confidence to work with numbers and to explain figures and financial products to your clients
  • excellent customer-service skills
  • the drive and motivation to meet targets
  • good IT skills
  • good time-management skills and the ability to juggle a busy workload
  • punctuality
  • discretion
  • an honest and trustworthy approach
  • an interest in the financial sector
  • good mathematical ability.

Work experience

Gaining relevant work experience in a finance, customer service or sales environment will increase your understanding of the financial sector and help make your job applications more competitive.

It's possible to work your way up from a customer service role in a financial institution, or as a mortgage administrator in a firm of brokers. Some banks and building societies run training schemes.

Employers

Self-employment is a common option for mortgage advisers, but you can also find employment with:

  • banks and building societies
  • estate agents
  • mortgage broker firms.

Look for vacancies at:

You can also check the websites of banks and building societies.

Specialist recruitment agencies include:

Professional development

You may choose to become a self-employed, independent mortgage adviser, managing your own caseload of clients. This will involve an element of sales and marketing work, as you'll need to find new business as well as carrying out the actual work of a mortgage adviser.

With experience, in an employed role, you could progress to managing a team of mortgage advisers in a senior/management-level role.

Membership of a professional body such as the CII provides access to technical and market knowledge, and a range of training and networking opportunities. It also enhances your career potential by providing practical support for your continuous professional development (CPD).

Career prospects

It's possible to take further qualifications to become an independent financial adviser (IFA), advising on a wider range of financial products.

You could consider setting up your own firm of mortgage brokers, where you'd have overall responsibility for a team of independent advisers and would manage the associated business administration, promotion and marketing activities involved in running the firm.

Other prospects include, becoming a financial controller, or a wealth manager - advising on investments for clients with a portfolio of a certain value or above.

Digital developments may have a gradual impact on the mortgage industry over the coming years, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence, where robo-advisers may eventually become integrated with human advice.