When I first meet my clients, I like to give a description of what I do, how I do it and how much I charge.
When I left school many years ago, I worked for Lloyds Bank. It was a great way of learning how to deal with people, and the basics of the financial services industry.
At age 28, looking for another opportunity, I became (of all things) an Estate Agent. I worked for a number of companies, large and small in Gloucestershire, Bristol and the West Country. I really enjoyed learning about property and helping people buy and sell their homes.
It was in late 2005, that I was looking for another career change, and it was actually my boss who suggested that I would make a good Mortgage Adviser. I thought about it, and it made great sense, mixing my knowledge and experience of property, people and finance.
I then spent the next year, cramming, taking and passing my full exams in Mortgage Advice and Practice. That makes me fully qualified to do three things.
The first (you’ll be relieved to hear) is to advise and arrange mortgages. Whilst we used to call it “whole of access”, I now have what is known as access to a comprehensive panel of lenders. A good description would be to say that I have access to nearly every lender and nearly every deal, however it’s important to say that I don’t have access to every lender and every deal. Whilst I can go to around sixty different lenders, there are still a few that I don’t have access to, although more and more are being added to my panel. In addition to that, some lenders do different deals directly to their clients, not always better, but different. In fact, with some lenders I can get some better deals than going direct!
Once I’ve found a suitable mortgage for you, the next thing to consider is financial protection. Recent events have showed us all that unexpected tragedies can strike at any time, and the phrase “it won’t happen to me” has no meaning. We go through what could happen to you, the financial consequences of these events, what you may already have in place and I recommend from the whole of market a range of products that can help keep you going during the bad times. Whilst you don’t have to take any of those products, but it makes sense to do so.
I can also arrange home insurance for you. The floods seem so long ago now, but again, it shows how it’s more important getting the right product than the cheapest product. I go to two providers, Legal & General and Paymentshield. I chose these for the quality of their cover as well as the competitive pricing.
When I qualified, I had a choice about how I worked. I could either be directly authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, or and I’ll explain this as best as I can, as this is the route that I took.
The FCA are based in London and (in my case) authorise a company called Mortgage Intelligence. Mortgage Intelligence are something called a network. They basically look after advisers, from small to large companies.
They put me on training courses, they give me the right software to do the best job, they even get me some exclusive, special deals.
They ensure that I take fresh exams every year, they remotely audit about one in ten of my cases and they even go through a complete audit every couple of years of my office and systems.
What they do is make sure that I am completely up to date with all criteria and legislation and that I can offer the best advice available.
One of the reasons that I mention that is, in the unlikely event that you need to make a complaint about my services. You can of course, contact me, as it may just be a general question that I can answer. If not, please feel free to contact Mortgage Intelligence, and they would give you a case handler that would look into this on your behalf and recompense you if I have advised incorrectly.
If the complaint isn’t settled to your satisfaction, then you may be entitled to refer to the Financial Ombudsman. It doesn’t remove them from the equation, it adds extra protection to you, which can only be a good thing.
A couple more things.
Firstly, I am completely GDPR compliant. I use your data for researching and applying for mortgage and protection products. I will also send a regular newsletter to you giving information about products and services. Whilst I’m sure that you’ll find this interesting, you will be able to unsubscribe from them if you wish.
You do have a right of access to see and correct the information that I hold about you, but I am required to keep your information for six years and if we haven’t been in touch during that period, delete it all.
Both mine and Mortgage Intelligence’s privacy statement’s can be found on my website, it you really need some good bedtime reading!
Finally (you’ll be relieved to know). For this meeting, future meetings, my advice and recommendations are completely free of charge.
Once I have found a product, got a decision in principle. Once you have found a property and had the offer accepted. Once I’ve really annoyed you by getting a whole load of suitable documents, and I’m ready to submit an application for you. Then, and only then I charge a one-off fee of £295.
Everything else I do for you in the future, such as product transfers, re-mortgages and future purchases would be free of charge from my point of view, (although there may still be lender or legal fees).
I do also make money from lenders by way of a procuration fee, which you would see on any illustrations that I provide for you.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.