When I jumped the fence from lender to broker

Ed Payne

March 14, 2018

Ed Payne is director of Bristol-based brokerages Family First Finance and Clifton Mortgages

Earlier this year I decided to do something that many people talk about doing but not many people actually do; I decided to jump the fence, leave the lender I worked for and become an intermediary.

I had to literally start from scratch, with very little idea as to what to do but in the space of six months I have my own fully operational mortgage and protection business.

Robyn Hall at Mortgage Introducer asked if I’d write this blog for others who might be thinking of doing the same thing and whilst I still have a lot to learn, hopefully I will be able to give them some insight or at the very least learn from my mistakes.

So, as one of my colleagues at Bank of Ireland asked me, what on earth did I want to do this for? Well, put simply I just wanted more control, the ability to call the shots, grow my own business and help people, rather than following a corporate agenda that has become increasingly controlled since the crash.

But where to start?

I have my CeMap qualification, I’m a law graduate and I’m also a member of the Institute of Direct Marketing, all useful skills when running a business.

I also have 20 years of experience at a senior level in the intermediary mortgage and protection markets but provider experience is very different to the demands placed on advisers in their day-to-day activities. Provider activities are becoming more and more controlled but is that to the same extent as advised, regulated sales? In addition, working as an employee is very different to running your own business. For starters there’s the issues of structuring the business, advertising costs, taxation etc.

So where to start from?

“The idea” is the start of all businesses. Whether it’s Ikea or a burger van, they all started with an idea. For some it’s a spark of genius, an original and brilliant idea but for most of us that is not the case.

I’d already decided that I wanted to work for myself and it became a case of what could I do and then what did I want to do? Well, with my experience I could relatively easily set up a mortgage and protection advice business. There is certainly still a shortage of advisers so hopefully I could find enough customers to make it viable at the very least.

In addition, some local business associates in an accountant and an estate agent had asked me on several occasions if I could recommend a good firm for them to introduce firms to. I did recommend various people to them and left it at that so when I went back to them a year later I expected to have missed the opportunity.

For various reasons it hadn’t worked out with the people I’d recommended and they were keen on the idea of referring business to me.

I would have to move fast and the next step was to consider whether I could afford to make the move, to leave my comfortable but increasingly unfulfilling role and strike out on my own.

A very simple assessment of my finances followed by the inevitable discussion with family left me realising that I could make the leap and actually that I had enough funds available to be able to work for myself for a year without taking a salary.

That was the watershed, to know that I could afford to do this, that I had partners prepared to work with me and introduce business to me, that my family would be supportive and most importantly that I wanted to do it.

The big question now was how to go about it?

Next time I will talk about how I started to move the idea forward practically speaking, contacted and assessed networks and found someone will to take me on and support my project.

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