We chat to Barclays' BDM for the West Midlands, Caroline Coxon, about the benefits of working with a high street bank and how to grow your advice business.
As a Business Development Manager for Barclays what does your role involve and what does a typical day look like?
As a Business Development Manager for Barclays, I look after a portfolio of professional introducers, which includes Finance brokers, Accountants, Independent Financial Advisors and Business Consultants. These are effectively my clients and by building a good working relationship with them they will feel confident introducing their clients who have commercial lending requirements to me. A typical day will start by checking my emails for new deals sent in for me to review, preparing information for forthcoming meetings, booking appointments for the weeks ahead and attending meetings with existing introducers to understand where Barclays can support them, or with new introducers who are interested in joining our broker panel. At the end of the day, it’s back to the emails to see what enquiries have come in for review.
If you had one ‘top tip’ for life as a BDM, what would it be?
There are two really, be organised and be able to multitask. The diary can be split into three main areas of focus; business development with existing introducers looking for new lending deals, sourcing new introducers to add to my portfolio, and managing my lending pipeline.
The focus for the day can suddenly change depending on what is happening at different stages of each deal. It could be chasing for further information, checking pending drawdowns to make sure that everyone is on track for expected completions, or looking at urgent lending requests.
What are the biggest issues facing advisers in the current economic environment and what should they be aware of when dealing with clients?
I think the biggest issue is uncertainty, and people are naturally cautious when facing the unknown. As a bank, we are always looking at ways to support our clients and give them confidence, not only with lending, but also with wider advice and networking, leveraging the fantastic experience we have at our disposal.
Since joining as a BDM what have been the biggest changes within your role and across the industry?
Since staring my role as a BDM I have found that clients are using brokers more to make sure they are getting the best deals, so I am always busy which is great. One of the things we found that was very important to the clients is the speed of the transaction. In the summer we introduced a new lending journey and are now seeing fully secured deals complete within seven weeks.
Do you think most brokers understand the benefits of working with Barclays?
Yes, they understand that relationship banking is what we offer and it is not just a loan to purchase a commercial property or a refinance of an existing loan. We offer much more than that. Brokers understand that the client will have a dedicated relationship manager to support and help their business grow, a dedicated Business Manager, who completes their bespoke credit report and starts to build their relationship with the client straight away. We also offer each business the right financial and payment solutions that support their specific industry.
Brokers can be confident that we have over 327 years of finance experience; we continue to focus on supporting the growth of UK businesses, and I’m always available to support their new cases!
What tips do you have for brokers which could help them grow the amount of business they write?
Have an industry focus – concentrate on specific sectors that perform well and are growing.
Refinance at the right time, look for exit strategies for bridging facilities previously placed and work closely with a bank to have a refinance strategy in place.
Utilise their entire workforce, so residential mortgage brokers ask clients about their commercial needs to open up more opportunities and vice versa.
What’s it like to work for one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women in the UK?
I am extremely proud to have worked for Barclays all of my career and recently celebrated thirty-two years, something my two grown up sons think is quite amazing. It’s a great place to work and never too late to focus and progress your career. Now that my children have grown up, I have been able to take a new direction within Barclays as a BDM which I absolutely love, I encourage my colleagues to learn and consider other opportunities to grow and take their careers in a different direction when an opportunity arises.
I support both new and experienced colleagues, helping them improve and enhance their business skills and around preparation for assessments for new roles, boosting their confidence - we all need a little extra support from time to time!