PRESS: Mortgage Strategy Broker Focus
Full Article can be found on; Mortgage Strategy
Broker Focus is a new weekly Mortgage Strategy article that aims to amplify the voices of intermediaries up and down the country.
Profiling a different mortgage broker every week, the column will ask a mix of light-hearted and professional questions about the individual, their firm and their take on the mortgage market.
This week it’s the turn of Sentry Advice’s very own managing director Thomas Webster.
1. Tell me about your firm in three sentences.
Fordyce & Playle (trading as Sentry Advice) has been in the market for 16 years delivering advice on mortgages, protection and equity release as well as offering a will-writing service. We understand that everyone’s financial situations, personal histories and life goals are unique which is reflected in the specialist advice we give.
2. What is your headcount?
There are six members of the F&P family. Myself as MD, four advisers and one administrator. We are actively looking to take on more talented advisers who can help us deal with the increased amount of leads we are generating.
3. Where are you based?
We are split across two offices; our head office is in Forest Row, near East Grinstead, which is where our company roots were founded. More recently we have opened our second office in sunny Eastbourne – still waiting for the sun!
4. What led you to become a mortgage broker?
Once I had finished 6th form I went to work for my Father Tony Webster at Connect Mortgage Group. I worked my way up from admin to underwriter to placement desk to business development. Unfortunately, Connect was a victim of the recession and went into administration in 2011. One of our broker clients, George Playle, was looking to retire and wanted to leave his successful business to someone he could trust. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me at the age of 24.
5. What are the best parts of your job?
I love seeing our advisers succeed, we’ve been growing rapidly over the last few years all thanks to their hard work. Also I really enjoy helping first-time buyers, it’s a daunting experience buying your first home and I get a kick out of making someone’s dream a reality.
6. What are your plans for your firm’s future?
Our aim is to open our third office in 2017 in an effort to become Eastbourne’s biggest brokerage. I have a real passion for technology and a few of the team, myself included, are level four qualified so we are investigating the possibility of increasing our permissions and entering into the robo-advice market for investments.
I believe consumer-facing technology will be a big part of broker evolution over the coming years and I want us to be a part of that. I have been developing a mortgage case tracking system so clients can keep up to date with the progress of their applications digitally, which will be ready to launch very soon.
7. What annoys you about the mortgage market?
‘Computer says no’ and the lack of common sense in lending. Every broker has pulled their hair out at some point when a case goes wrong because a lender isn’t prepared to make a logical decision.
8. And what is the best thing about it?
When you break it down, the single goal in our industry is to help people, whether it be to get them in the home of their dreams or refinance debt to make their lifestyle better, we as brokers are here to help people and I love that.
9. What one thing would improve brokers’ working lives the most?
Better technology. Fintech has exploded over the last five years but it feels like the mortgage industry is still working on decade-old technology which has been patched together as regulation and needs have evolved.
Things are improving slowly but I still believe as an industry we are far off the pace.
10. What is the best day you’ve ever had, and why?
Getting the keys for our Eastbourne office. Taking over an already successful business meant I never really had my entrepreneurial itch scratched, as I was just keeping the ship on course.
Opening our second office and taking on two new brokers felt like a real accomplishment as I had taken something great and made it not only better but also my own. Getting my DipFA certificate was a close second!
11. Which person, alive or dead, would you most like to have a drink with?
Elon Musk, he’s like a real life Iron Man and I love his forward-thinking ‘anything is possible’ attitude.
12. Which teams do you support, and why?
I’m a Spurs fan through family heritage. I’m very excited about the new stadium!
13. Finally, what do you most like to read in Mortgage Strategy?
Mortgage Strategy is a real champion for brokers, you act with genuine journalism to keep lenders in check. The recent wave of mainstream lenders offering rate switch processes to brokers and paying procuration fees has been great to read and I believe this is down to the media pressure applied by Mortgage Strategy.
The blog postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of Sentry Advice Limited. All comments are made in good faith, and neither Sentry Advice Limited nor the author will accept liability for them. No advice is given in any posting. Please contact your adviser for more information or advice.