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How to Become a Mortgage Adviser

Responsibilities, working hours, what to expect and qualifications needed

Career guides » How to Become a Mortgage Adviser

What does a mortgage adviser do?

A mortgage adviser is sometimes also known as a mortgage specialist or broker. They provide advice on mortgages and home buying and assist clients (individuals and businesses) in finding, selecting and applying for the mortgage products that meet their needs.

There are different types of mortgage advisers: independent, tied and multi-tied.

  • Independent – are also known as whole of market mortgage brokers. They must consider mortgage products from all providers across the entire market.
  • Tied – they are tied to one mortgage lender and usually work for them, i.e. in a bank or building society.
  • Multi-tied – they can offer more products than a tied mortgage adviser, but it is still from a limited choice of providers.

 

Mortgage advisers can choose to be generalists or specialise in specific mortgage products, e.g. residential, commercial and buy-to-let. Therefore, what they do will depend on whether they are independent, tied or multi-tied and if they generalise or specialise in any particular mortgage products. Whether they are employed or self-employed will also influence what they do.

Mortgage advisers will carry out many tasks, including meeting clients and talking to them about their finances, assessing affordability, researching mortgage products, providing appropriate and impartial advice, offering different mortgage products, assisting with applications, etc. The role may also require ad hoc administrative work, such as record-keeping and producing reports.

A mortgage adviser’s main aim is to find the most suitable mortgage to meet their client’s financial situation, needs and goals and to secure a sale. They must also research and keep up to date with new mortgage products and legislation changes to provide the best advice. Overall, being a mortgage adviser is about helping clients purchase property and ensuring they can afford what they will borrow. It can be a minefield, as people often do not know their options and may make mistakes that could cost them more in the long run.

Mortgage advisers can work with many different people. If employed by a company, they will usually work with a team of colleagues, including senior managers, other mortgage advisers, financial advisers and support staff. They will also liaise with external stakeholders, including clients (individuals and businesses), mortgage lenders, valuers, solicitors, lawyers, conveyancers, estate agents, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), etc.

Mortgage advisers can work for different-sized companies, from large banks and building societies to small independent firms. They can also be self-employed and have their own business or freelance. They can work in various environments, such as an office, a contact centre, their own home or a client’s home/business.

Responsibilities

A mortgage adviser’s responsibilities will depend on many factors, including who they work for (i.e. employed or themselves), the type of products they specialise in and the type of advice they provide.

Some examples of their duties may include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Meeting with clients (face-to-face/phone/online) and speaking with them about their current financial situation and expenditure.
  • Maintaining client confidentiality.
  • Analysing current markets.
  • Explaining the mortgage advice provided and how payment will be received.
  • Explaining to clients about the various mortgage types, repayments and mortgage protection.
  • Providing information to clients on the pros and cons of various mortgage deals.
  • Providing general home buying advice to clients.
  • Ensuring any advice given is appropriate and impartial.
  • Offering different mortgage products for clients to choose from and assessing the types that best suit their needs.
  • Assessing whether clients can afford the amount they are borrowing currently and in the future, e.g. increasing interest rates and changing circumstances.
  • Assisting clients with mortgage applications or filling them out on their behalf.
  • Keeping abreast with new mortgage products and legislation changes and informing clients.
  • Offering, advising and selling other financial products, e.g. insurances.
  • Meeting sales targets.
  • Complying with industry rules and guidance and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulatory requirements.
  • Liaising with valuers, mortgage lenders and estate agents.

Working hours

A mortgage adviser can expect to work between 35 and 40 hours a week, but they can do more or fewer hours depending on the requirements of their role and if they are self-employed. Although Monday–Friday is typical, mortgage advisers can also work unsociable hours, e.g. evenings, weekends and bank holidays, especially when attending appointments or events.

Mortgage advisers may need to travel to meet with clients or to networking events and conferences, which can lengthen the working day. There are also opportunities to work away from home and overseas, but these are not common.

What to expect

There are many positives to being a mortgage adviser, and it can be a rewarding career choice. Buying a new home or business can be stressful, as many people do not have the necessary knowledge of the mortgage and financial sectors. Mortgage advisers help people to understand their options to get the most suitable mortgage for their needs and financial situation. They can go home at the end of the working day knowing they have made a difference by providing meaningful advice and helping people to buy property, find the best deals and save money.

There are plenty of mortgage adviser roles, with jobs available nationally, and job security. The salary is competitive compared to other career choices, even at the entry level. There is the potential to earn significantly with experience, and there may also be bonuses, commissions and additional benefits. Overall, there are many opportunities in the financial and mortgage sector.

Being a mortgage adviser can give individuals independence and flexibility, particularly if self-employed. Being your own boss can be attractive, as it allows individuals to take charge of their working day and overall career progression. It can also help them achieve a decent work-life balance.

If an individual decides to become a self-employed mortgage adviser, the business start-up costs are lower than in other careers. There are also numerous professional development opportunities and support within the industry.

Boredom will never be a problem for mortgage advisers, as their work can be varied. There are also plenty of opportunities to specialise, so if an individual finds a specific area they are really interested in, they will enjoy their work.

Even though there are positives to being a mortgage adviser, there are challenges and cons, e.g.:

  • Qualifications and compliance – an individual must have successfully completed a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) course (or equivalent) by the FCA and register with them before providing mortgage advice or selling products. It can take time and study to become a mortgage adviser, and individuals must continue to comply with the regulatory requirements.
  • Fast-paced and demanding – being a mortgage adviser can be stressful at times. They will often have multiple clients and must be able to juggle different demands. They will need to research and keep up to date with mortgage providers/products and changes in the law and be available to advise clients when they need it. They really need to know their stuff, as it is not an easy job.
  • Being self-employed – whilst being your own boss can be fulfilling, it can also introduce other challenges. Working for yourself, advertising and building a client base can create additional work for self-employed mortgage advisers. It also takes a lot of willpower and commitment to work from home and requires good organisation and time management skills.

 

Every career choice has pros and cons, and prospective mortgage advisers must know what to expect before deciding whether it is for them. Juggling different demands can be challenging and stressful. It is fast-paced and demanding, and individuals must be committed to continued learning and regulatory compliance. However, there are many positives too, and those who become mortgage advisers really enjoy their work, as it allows them to help people buy a home or business.

When considering whether to be a mortgage adviser and the type of role, individuals should look at the pros and cons. They should also ensure they have the right personal qualities to carry out the role and responsibilities required.

Personal qualities needed to be a mortgage adviser

Some of the personal qualities a mortgage adviser requires will include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Approachable, honest, trustworthy, reliable, ethical and professional.
  • Tenacious, ambitious, determined, persuasive and motivated.
  • Discrete and confidential.
  • Knowledge of financial and property markets, mortgage products and associated legislation and rules.
  • Knowledge of maths.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Customer service skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Analytical thinking and researching skills.
  • Organisation and time management skills.
  • Negotiating and influencing skills.
  • Active listening skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Numeracy skills.
  • Decision-making skills.
  • Business management skills.
  • Being thorough, accurate and having attention to detail.
  • The ability to work well with others in a team and alone using their own initiative.
  • The ability to explain complicated information to clients simply, clearly and concisely.
  • The ability to sell services and products.
  • The ability to maintain objectivity at all times.
  • The ability to work well under pressure and remain confident and calm in stressful situations.
  • The ability to accept criticism.
  • The ability to work to tight deadlines and meet targets.
  • The ability to establish relationships with clients.
  • The ability to be flexible and open to change.
  • The ability to use IT equipment, e.g. computers and hand-held devices, and relevant software packages.

Qualifications

There are many different ways to become a mortgage adviser, e.g. university, college, private training, an apprenticeship or direct applications. Individuals could also do work experience to help them enter the role.

University

Individuals do not have to have a degree to become a mortgage adviser, but it can maximise their chances of success if they have a degree in a relevant subject.

Such as:

  • Accountancy.
  • Business management.
  • Real estate.
  • Finance, financial services or financial studies.

 

Individuals usually need two or three A Levels or equivalent for a degree course. They should check the entry requirements before applying as they can differ between universities.

College/private training

CeMap

To become a mortgage adviser, individuals must complete a Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP), an industry-standard qualification approved by the FCA. It is a Level 3 qualification, equivalent to an A Level, and most employers will require individuals to hold a CeMAP.

There are no formal entry requirements for the CeMAP. However, individuals should have good Maths and English skills, so a GCSE in these subjects would be advantageous.

The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) has further information on the CeMAP qualification. There are also numerous college and private training companies offering this qualification.

There are also further CeMap qualifications, e.g. Level 4 CeMAP Diploma.

Certificate in Mortgage Advice

An alternative to the CeMAP qualification is the Level 3 Certificate in Mortgage Advice offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). It is also recognised by the FCA and is equivalent to the CeMAP.

The CII also offers a Level 4 Certificate in Advanced Mortgage Advice as the next step; usually, once an individual has completed the Level 3 certificate.

Other qualifications/courses

Other courses may help individuals become mortgage advisers, such as (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business.
  • T Level in Finance.

 

Individuals usually need four or five GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent (including English and Maths for a T Level).

Always check the entry requirements and course duration before applying, as each college and training provider may differ.

Individuals are not guaranteed success with courses and qualifications. However, it will demonstrate to companies that they are keen on the job and may give individuals a competitive edge. Some employers may provide the resources and support for individuals to complete their qualifications.

Apprenticeships

There is a mortgage adviser apprenticeship, which usually takes about 12 months to complete. To be successful, individuals will usually need five GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and Maths, for a Level 3 (advanced) apprenticeship.

Opportunities are found on Government’s Apprenticeships and Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Applying directly

Some banks and building societies offer mortgage adviser training schemes where they will train individuals on the job and may also pay for them to do relevant qualifications. Other organisations may also have trainee or internship roles.

It can be a good route for those struggling to pay for courses, as they can sometimes be expensive. Individuals will still need a good education and demonstrate a passion for the industry. It would help to have experience in finance, sales or customer service.

Trainee mortgage adviser

Work experience

Individuals could work in a bank as customer service advisers whilst studying part-time or as trainee advisers. There may also be opportunities to work at a mortgage broker firm as an administrator and learn on the job by shadowing and helping mortgage advisers. Working in other sectors, e.g. insurance, can also help individuals move into mortgage advice.

Volunteering can also help individuals build their knowledge and skills. Individuals could volunteer with charities in their finance departments, but it may require some knowledge and experience. There is information on volunteering and local opportunities on Do-IT, NCVO and Volunteering Matters.

Work experience relating to customer service, accountancy or finance can be beneficial and help an individual work towards becoming a mortgage adviser. Even college and community courses can count, e.g. AAT in business skills or accounting and customer service skills.

Mortgage adviser doing training courses

Training courses

Learning does not stop with experience or once someone becomes qualified. Attending relevant training courses and having additional certifications can help individuals enter the profession, enhance their employability and give them a competitive edge. Many colleges and accredited private training companies offer relevant courses.

In addition to the required qualifications, there may be other courses that individuals may find beneficial, such as:

  • Office health and safety.
  • Display screen equipment (DSE).
  • Work-related stress.
  • Customer service skills.
  • Data protection and the GDPR.
  • Equality and diversity.
  • Minute taking.
  • Business management.
  • Resilience training.
  • Time management.

 

If starting out, it may also be worth enrolling on low-cost online mortgage courses to see if a career in mortgage advice is of interest. That way, if it is not, it will save an individual a lot of time, money and trouble.

Professional bodies, institutes and associations, such as as the London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF), the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), the Society of Mortgage Professionals (SMP), the Chartered Banker Institute (CBI), the Personal Finance Society (PFS) and the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), can also advise on reputable training courses. Some also provide information, events and support to help individuals become mortgage advisers, giving them the means to continue their professional development.

The type of training required will depend on what employers are looking for and the areas and products in which mortgage advisers specialise. It is worth looking at several job advertisements to identify the training required for specific roles and specialisms. Jobs are on websites, such as GOV.UK find a job service, Indeed, LinkedIn, City Jobs UK, topfinancialjobs.co.uk, banks, building societies and other job sites. Recruitment agencies, such as Pure Resourcing and JDC, specialise in mortgage recruitment.

More relevant training and competence (skills, experience and knowledge) will open up more opportunities. Refresher training will also be required, as it keeps an individual’s knowledge and skills up to date and is a requirement for regulatory purposes.

Being self-employed

There are additional responsibilities associated with being self-employed.

Self-employed mortgage advisers must:

  • Have the correct insurances, i.e. public liability, professional indemnity, home, car or business. If employing anyone, employer’s liability insurance will be required.
  • Register with HMRC.
  • File tax returns.
  • Register with the ICO to hold personal data (to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR).

 

Further advice and guidance on being self-employed can be found on GOV.UK.

If an individual decides to be a self-employed mortgage adviser they will need to factor in certain costs.

Such as:

  • Vehicle and running costs, e.g. fuel, maintenance, tax and insurance.
  • Working from home costs, e.g. utilities.
  • Training.
  • Computer and mobile phone.
  • Consumables.
  • Marketing and advertising.
  • Insurances.

 

They should also research and decide on the area, market, competition and services to offer customers. Becoming a member of an association can also help gain more business.

Registration

Individuals must register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to become an ‘approved person’ and to provide mortgage advice.

They must:

  • Meet the requirements and follow the principles of the ‘fit and proper’ test.
  • Comply with the Conduct Rules.
  • Report anything that could affect a mortgage adviser’s ongoing suitability to the FCA and the authorised firm.

 

There is a cost for initial registration and authorisation and an annual fee payable to the FCA.

Further information on applying to become an approved person can be found here.

Criminal record and credit checks

Mortgage advisers must undergo a criminal record check, as they may have contact with vulnerable people. A criminal record, caution, warning or conviction may put off prospective employers. However, employers should account for the seriousness of the crime, when it occurred and its relevance to the role.

The organisation that holds criminal records will depend on the country within the UK, for example:

 

Some employers may also require individuals to have a credit check. They will usually arrange for both criminal and credit checks to be completed.

Driving

Some mortgage advisers will need to drive as part of their role. Therefore, they should have a full driving licence, preferably with no points.

Mortgage adviser working in estate agents

Where do mortgage advisers work?

Mortgage advisers can be employed and work for companies across the UK, such as (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Banks.
  • Building societies.
  • Mortgage brokers and specialists.
  • Independent mortgage & protection or financial advice firms.
  • Mortgage and protection intermediaries.
  • Financial services companies.
  • Estate agencies.
  • Wealth management businesses.
  • Insurance companies.
  • Law firms.
  • Financial planning companies.
  • Accounting firms.
  • Property groups.
  • Other high street financial institutions.

 

They can also be self-employed, freelance or work for recruitment agencies.

Mortgage advisers can work in a variety of establishments, such as (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Offices.
  • Contact centres.
  • Clients’ homes.
  • Clients’ business premises.
  • Their own home.

 

There are likely to be more opportunities in large towns and cities, but there may be scope for working in villages and small towns.

Some mortgage advisers may also travel during their working day, which may require some overnight stays, but this is not common. More experienced individuals may have opportunities to work overseas.

Mortgage adviser with clients

How much do mortgage advisers earn?

A mortgage adviser’s salary will depend on their qualifications, experience, geographical location, specialisms and whether they choose to be employed or self-employed.

According to Check-a-Salary (these figures are a guide only):

  • Mortgage advisers, on average, earn a minimum of £22,500 per year.
  • The average mortgage adviser salary in the UK is £42,498.89 per year.
  • Mortgage advisers, on average, earn a maximum of £72,000 per year.

 

In addition to a salary, mortgage advisers may also receive bonuses, commission and other benefits.

The salaries for self-employed mortgage advisers will be variable, as they will set their own fees. They will need to factor in various expenses when considering salaries, e.g. tax, National Insurance, travel, other insurances (business/liability), working from home, equipment, registration, qualifications and training, etc.

As an apprentice, the salary will depend on an individual’s age and how long they have been in their apprenticeship. Apprentices must earn at least the current National Minimum Wage (NMW). Some employers will pay more than this. However, it will depend on the organisation and role on offer.

Mortgage adviser specialising in later life mortgages

Types of mortgage advice roles to specialise in

As stated earlier, individuals can decide to be independent, multi-tied or tied mortgage advisers.

They could provide general advice or specialise in one of the following areas (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Residential (domestic homeowners) mortgages.
  • Commercial (businesses) mortgages.
  • Buy-to-let mortgages.
  • Remortgages.
  • Second home mortgages.
  • Right to buy mortgages.
  • Self-build mortgages (for rebuilding or redeveloping).
  • Holiday home/let mortgages.
  • Multiple applicant/house of multiple ownership mortgages (for landlords).
  • Offset mortgages (linking savings to mortgages).
  • International mortgages.

 

They could also focus on people with specific circumstances, such as:

  • People with poor credit.
  • First-time buyers.
  • Older clients (later life mortgages).
  • Self-employed and freelance workers.
  • Contractors.
  • Ex-pats.
  • Shared ownership.
  • Divorce and separation.
  • Certain professions, e.g. doctors and directors.

 

All different mortgage adviser roles will require differing knowledge, skills, experience and qualities. All advisers must be registered with the FCA to become an ‘approved person’ and carry out their responsibilities ethically and professionally. Any additional areas of expertise will depend on what a company is looking for (if employed) and the specialist areas a mortgage adviser wants to work in. Further qualifications and training will usually be necessary for specialised areas.

If mortgage advisers do not carry out their roles correctly, i.e. providing incorrect advice or recommending the wrong products, it can cause significant issues for customers’ finances. It may result in them getting into debt, higher costs and even losing their property. In serious cases, clients may decide to complain, refer their complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or start legal proceedings. Mortgage advisers can also face enforcement from the FCA, e.g. withdrawal of authorisations, fines and even prosecution. Therefore, they must be able to provide mortgage advice competently. They should also only give advice within their remit and the scope of their role.

Mortgage adviser keeping up to date with standards

Professional bodies

Mortgage lenders and products, standards, codes, markets and laws are regularly changing. Therefore, mortgage advisers must keep abreast with the latest developments and changes to comply with the law and ensure they carry out their roles effectively and correctly. Continuing professional development (CPD) gives mortgage advisers the knowledge and skills to keep up to date with these changes, understand their responsibilities and progress in their careers.

Joining a professional body, institute or association (as mentioned previously) can help individuals enhance their skills and overall careers. They offer different levels of membership, CPD, support, access to industry contacts and networking events. If self-employed, having a recognised membership can attract more customers.

There is ample opportunity for career progression for mortgage advisers. With more experience, they can manage a team of mortgage advisers or become a senior adviser, a company director or partner. They can also decide to specialise in one area, e.g. commercial mortgages, or recruit and train new staff. Alternatively, they may choose to become self-employed and start their own business or work for agencies.

Knowledge, skills and experience from being a mortgage adviser can also lead to a career in different areas. For example, with further qualifications, individuals could become financial advisers or move into a regulatory role to ensure compliance with the law and rules.

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