Dan Watson

An interview with Dan Watson: 'Bridging finance can help you wherever you are in the UK'

Precise Mortgages recently restructured its sales team and moved Dan Watson (pictured above) to the role of specialist distribution manager.

In an interview with Bridging & Commercial, Dan talks about educating brokers and challenges in the bridging market.

You recently restructured your sales team. What are you responsible for in the new specialist distribution manager role?

As a lender, Precise Mortgages now has more BDMs in more areas of the country than ever before, which means brokers are never far away from the support they need to access a wide variety of products, including bridging finance.

My new role is working with our key account partners and educating them about our bridging proposition. My territory is London and the South East, including East Anglia, and I work with brokers in promoting how short-term lending can be a great solution to meeting their clients’ needs, both on a regulated and non-regulated basis.

I work closely with the key account team to identify opportunities, while also working with the BDM team to help them promote and provide education on bridging finance through their intermediary relationships.

Do you think the industry can do more to educate brokers on bridging finance?

We so often hear that lenders are London-centric and how bridging finance is focused mainly on London and the South East. However, bridging finance can help you wherever you are in the UK and I believe we can do more to make more brokers aware of this. Precise Mortgages’ team of BDMs works hard to spread this message by holding regular bridging finance workshops and training sessions in locations around the country.

What advice would you give to brokers who are new to the bridging finance market?

My advice to brokers regarding the bridging market would be to make sure you’re up to speed on the benefits of short-term finance. It’s a really flexible product and can be used in a wide variety of situations, whether that’s as a solution to a chain-break situation, as a way of quickly raising capital or obtaining the finance for a property that is not currently habitable. Take our refurbishment BTL offering, for example. Not only does it allow customers to access the short-term finance they need to refurbish a property and get it up to a lettable standard, it also gives them the peace of mind of an exit on to a long-term BTL mortgage once the work has been completed.

 What do you expect will be the biggest challenge for the bridging market this year?

Most people talk about the economy being the biggest challenge, especially following Brexit. However, properties not selling and clients spotting new opportunities in the property market can drive more bridging finance business. With some rates now less than 0.5% per month, it could be a good time for clients to consider flexible short-term finance.

How did you get into the industry?

My first role in the mortgage industry was at Capital Home Loans (CHL), which I joined after completing my marketing degree. It was potluck to be honest; it was the first interview I went to and I thought it would do me good to get into finance in the long run. I joined CHL in 2006, pre-credit crunch, and what a different market it was then. I moved over to Fleet Mortgages in 2014, where I helped manage the marketing and telesales teams, before becoming a BDM. It was during that role that I learned a lot about the importance of face-to-face contact with intermediaries. I moved to Precise Mortgages in 2017 to expand my knowledge on the whole specialist market, and not just BTL.

If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t working in finance, I would probably be a schoolteacher. I have two children and there’s nothing I enjoy more than encouraging and developing them. I’ll be coaching my six-year-old in his first team this year and I’m really looking forward to it. It will certainly be easier than when I used to coach/manage a men’s football team — organising and collecting the money off a group of 18- to 30-year-olds wasn’t easy!

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