"A good DA will know what their strengths and weaknesses and will be able to recognise when it might be better to refer a case to a specialist broker or packager."
But there are lots of things to consider if you want to make the move from appointed representative within a network to running your own show.
As a DA you won’t just be advising clients on mortgages and protection, you will be setting up and managing a business. You will need to be organised with a robust business plan, a vision of where you want to get to and financial projections. You should have a marketing strategy, branding to show your identity and a clear picture of how you intend to run your brokerage.
To be a DA broker you must apply to the FCA directly for authorisation so your application must be thorough or it could be rejected.
Mortgage advice is what the business is all about but the FCA will want to see that you understand the management and reporting side and all the compliance and regulations involved. There are firms who can assist with this and it is wise to seek guidance as regulation can be complicated.
One of the key requirements for professional success is investing in the right technology which will streamline your business bringing efficiency, speed and security.
Starting from scratch provides the opportunity to shop around and select the best technology for your business. It is best to view technology as an enabler which will enhance your business and choosing the right systems from the word go will put you in a strong position. Technology should be seen as a way to not only run your business but to serve more customers better and quicker.
A good CRM platform will allow you to keep track of clients, not just with applications and completions, but diary alerts to requirements such as reminders that a borrowers’ remortgage is due for renewal.
Other tools to compliment CRM systems include those that help you attract more leads into your business, collaborate with your clients using client portals, and marketing retention to communicate with your clients before their rate comes to an end.
Product and criteria sourcing systems are vital for any brokerage but links to other services such as conveyancers and surveyors are also useful.
Most DA brokers are members of a mortgage club who can provide all these services including partnerships with third parties that specialise in areas like compliance and training.
Be a great communicator
Communication is also key for any broker, not just with clients but lenders too. Building up trust and a good rapport with your clients is obvious and keeping them informed every step of the way is good customer service.
Building up relationships with BDMs is also a great way to help you to understand what the lender needs from you and your clients. They may be able to help with complex situations or find ways to make a case fit by communicating with the underwriters.
A good DA will know what their strengths and weaknesses and will be able to recognise when it might be better to refer a case to a specialist broker or packager. Equity release is a prime example where passing the case to qualified experts will be best for both broker and client. The broker receives a referral fee and keeps their client while the borrower gets the best advice.
Keeping up with changes
It is important for a DA to have a positive mental attitude and be adaptable to changing circumstances because, let’s face it, no two days are the same as a mortgage adviser.
The ability to keep up with industry changes is vital so don’t shy away from training, even if you think you know everything. There is always something new around the corner and if you stand still, so will your business.
Brokers can also benefit from networking via seminars, expos, roadshows, conferences and webinars and many are free to attend.
There are also lender websites which are full of useful information and the trade press is there for news and insight. You can sign up to broker forums and FCA news as well.
A good DA broker needs to be confident and know their business inside out. They enjoy helping people buy a home, they like communicating and are keen to keep up with the changing mortgage and housing industry. It can be very rewarding following the DA route, not just financially but personally and professionally.