As a mortgage advisor working in the financial sector, you'll be helping people find and apply for the right mortgage and making sure they are fully informed about what's available.
Working in a customer's best interests, it's down to you to find the best mortgage based on their situation and finances, and guide them through the whole process.
So, what will I actually be doing?
To carry out the service, your day to day routine could involve dealing with estate agents, valuers and mortgage lenders, keeping up to date with the current market and law and working closely with your clients.
As a mortgage advisor in a bank or building society, you would only sell your own company's mortgage products. If you worked for an estate agent or mortgage broker, you would offer mortgages from a range of companies. If you are an independent financial Advisor (IFA), you would advise on all types of financial products including mortgages.
You also need to follow strict rules and guidelines from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which make sure advisors act fairly and are qualified to give the right financial advice.
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The nitty gritty
Full-time, you would generally be working between 35 and 40 hours a week between Monday and Saturday. You could work nine to five, or in shifts including evenings and weekends in a contact centre.
Part-time work is possible. If you are an independent advisor, you would often meet clients in the evening and at weekends.
Typically you would be office-based, although as with some independent advisors, working from home is possible.
You could find opportunities with banks, building societies, estate agents, firms of mortgage brokers and insurance brokers all over the UK. You could also work as an independent mortgage advisor.
With experience, you could manage a team of mortgage advisors. Alternatively, if working for yourself appeals to you, there's the option of becoming a self-employed independent advisor.
You could also take further qualifications to become a financial advisor.
Money, money, money
As a mortgage advisor working for a company, you would usually be paid a basic salary plus commission, whilst as an independent advisor you would be paid either by fees or commission.
A basic salary, without commission, ranges from approximately £18,000 to £25,000 a year.
Your salary package may also include car allowance, insurance and pension benefits.
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The good points...
Including commission, a salary of £40,000 to £50,000 is possible.
...and the bad
Meeting sales targets is an important part of the role, so you will have to constantly keep an eye on them.
Is there study involved?
If you are considering becoming a mortgage advisor, employers often consider 'people skills' and a background in customer service, sales or financial services to be more important than formal qualifications.
You would often start as a customer service advisor in a bank or building society, or as a mortgage administrator or insurance technician in a firm of brokers. You could then progress into giving mortgage advice as you gain experience and Financial Services Authority-approved qualifications.
You may also be able to get into the financial services industry through an apprenticeship scheme. The range of apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. For more information on apprenticeships, visit www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
See the financial advisor profile for information on how to become an independent financial advisor.
Your training will be a mixture of on-the-job learning and study for qualifications in mortgage advice, possibly through a bank or building society's structured training scheme.
As a trainee mortgage advisor you must take an industry-recognised qualification that meets Financial Services Authority (FSA) standards, such as:
- Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)
- Certificate in Mortgage Advice (Cert MA)
- ifs School of Finance Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP)
You can study for each of these qualifications by distance learning. Employers will usually support your training and pay for exams.
The ifs School of Finance also offers the Advanced Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice, which is suitable for supervisors.
You should keep up to date with new products and financial regulations throughout your career. CII and ifs School of Finance both offer a range of short courses and formal continuing professional development (CPD) schemes to help you achieve this.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To be a good mortgage advisor, you must have:
- Good communication and listening skills
- The ability to explain complex information clearly and simply
- Excellent customer service skills
- Honest and trustworthy attitude
- An interest in legal and financial matters
Good mathematical and computer skills
- Respect for confidential information