Tell me a bit about yourself, what was your journey to now?
Throughout my career, I’ve always been involved in the mortgage market. I started off at Cheshire Building Society, where I stayed for 13 years. My first role was as a junior filing clerk and, over the years, I worked my way up to running a district of branches in Lancashire. My first step into the specialist market was with a lender called Verso. This was great experience when it came to understanding the approach and criteria that make specialist lenders so vital to our market. And I haven’t looked back since. I firmly believe that the specialist market has the ability to change people’s lives for the better.
You recently re-joined Pepper, what changes have you noticed?
I first joined Pepper in 2016 and stayed for three years. I then had three years away from the business and then came back last year. When I came back what surprised me the most is how things have improved. The biggest improvement is the service, it’s now right up there amongst the best in the specialist industry. When a deal comes in, a colleague rings the broker, talks them through the case, and stays with them right the way through the process, and that’s a big reason why our service is so good. But don’t just take our word for it: our Trustpilot reviews are regularly over four and a half stars.
Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Specialist’ podcast? What’s it all about?
‘The Specialist’ is the perfect name for our podcast, as we’re such a diverse specialist lender.
Our guests are from really varied backgrounds, so what you’ll find is we spend a few minutes at the beginning of each episode getting to know them and getting under the skin of what they’re really like. Then we discuss their areas of expertise, so that they can share their experience, much of which we think will benefit our broker listeners. The episodes are all a maximum of 20 minutes long, so they are short and punchy. It’s very informal but very informative. It’s our aim to get the facts across but keep it light-hearted.
So how does the podcast help brokers?
The format of a podcast means we are able to ask the questions that are most pertinent at the time. For instance, we started recording these right at the moment the previous chancellor gave his address to Parliament, and we were able to ask hard-hitting questions that brokers really needed the answers to.
How is this podcast different from what’s out there?
It’s short, punchy and relaxed but always informative. We did an episode with Andrew Montlake, who’s a regular commentator who has been featured on Sky TV, etc. Andrew came to see us in the recording studio on the Wednesday and then on the Thursday the Chancellor’s address to the House of Commons made the whole conversation a little irrelevant. So he was kind enough to come back in the following week and re-record his episode. That’s how quickly things in the mortgage industry can change, and our ability to react to it is what makes us different.
Were there any topical insights from guests that surprised you?
Loads of stuff, really. We’ve had all sorts of guests, from industry-respected people to colleagues within Pepper. We talked to Ryan Brailsford about the changing role of a BDM, and why good BDMs are so important. In the Christmas special we looked at what might be coming down the track and the opportunities that brokers have ahead of them. There have been lots of really good, insightful conversations with people sharing their honest and open views.
What have been the best moments so far, do you have a favourite moment and why?
I’m a big fan of comedy and Paula John’s jokes around the cost of living crisis were very tongue in cheek. Then, of course, Martin Reynolds’ Christmas cracker joke was the highlight of the Christmas edition for me.
What can we expect to see from Season Two of ‘The Specialist’?
We’re still filling the slots, but we’re delighted to say that we’re going to be joined by Laurence Morey, our Chief Executive, so keep your ears peeled for a conversation about the current funding environment and the different options that are available to lenders .
Another big topic at the minute is the green agenda, so we’ll be talking to Richard Merritt from the Mortgage Climate Action Group about everything green. We’ll also have a customer talking about their experience using Pepper Money, and finally, I’m really looking forward to discussing the importance of women in the industry in an episode planned to be released on International Women’s Day.
What do you hope to achieve in the next series?
It’s my mission to keep the podcast relevant and helpful, talking about real topics that are pertinent to brokers, like the Green agenda or inclusivity in finance. Above all we want to continue to be engaging and relevant, and have a little bit of something for everybody.
If you enjoyed the first series of ‘The Specialist’ but thought there was something missing, now’s your chance to have your say in what comes next.
Submit your suggestions for future series by sending us a message at [email protected].
Listen to Series 1 of the ‘The Specialist’ now!