Focus on Brokers: Stuart Powell, Managing Director, Ocean Mortgages


Describe your business in a few sentences

In 2017, I created Ocean Mortgages as an independent practitioner, after two decades in the banking industry. Initially, I developed the business through mortgage leads from friends, family, VouchedFor and Impartial.

By 2018, the company had grown enough to recruit an office administrator.

The company quickly became directly licensed and as we continued to grow we noticed new niches in the industry which prompted the development and creation of our additional companies: Ocean Equity Release ( 2019), The Mortgage Girl in (2020) and The Equity Release Lady in 2021.

My advice to a new broker is that the fundamentals work for a reason

Our team, although small (less than 10 years old), includes highly experienced counselors and newly qualified counselors and apprentices, all driven by the same customer-centric ethic. An essential component of our development has been to recruit people who put the customer at the heart of their work.

Our youngest apprentice, aged 18, will be taking her first CeMap exam shortly and I have no doubts that she will become one of the youngest mortgage advisors in the country. And our first independent advisor joined us last month as The Mortgage Girl and The Equity Release Lady Kent.

What made you decide to become a broker?

Having had a 15 year career in banking, I decided to start my own mortgage business in the South West of England.

What plans do you have for the future of your business?

Over the next 18 months, we plan to hire 10 additional advisors, growing steadily with regular recruitments.

Our franchise business model, which allows Advisors to shape their businesses with our support, has proven to be successful to date, with Advisors reaching out to us from Wales, Cornwall, Somerset, Berkshire, Hampshire and the UK. Wiltshire, all eager to join our brand with all the support (including specialist mentoring) required to build a successful business.

Large numbers of men and women in their late teens and early twenties are desperate for a career, not a job

Our first experience of award nominations came this year when we reached the final of the Mortgage strategy Equity Release Broker of the Year 2021. It was a huge honor.

I encourage all brokers to enter at least one contest each year. The application process encourages careful thought and allows you to consider the strengths and development opportunities of your business, as well as the niches that could be exploited.

What could lenders do to make the life of a broker the best?

A key relationship for any broker is that of the business development manager. Mortgage lenders should ask brokers what is the best BDM they are dealing with and why, and then recruit and develop BDMs like this. Many brokers find it difficult to obtain a BDM, especially from larger lenders.

The industry is receptive and eager to support new advisors in the development of their business

What advice would you give to a new broker?

My main advice to a new stock release broker would be to remember that fundamentals work for a reason. Focusing on the needs and circumstances of customers as a primary and central requirement for the business will ensure that all associated business goals flow from the necessary ethics.

Lenders should ask brokers what is the best BDM they are dealing with and why and then recruit and develop BDMs like this

Most advisors will have experience with all of the marketing, IT systems, and compliance processes that a new advisor would consider. Joining an advisor forum or a Facebook group to get feedback and ideas is a great start.

The industry is receptive and eager to support new advisors in the development of their business.

How can the industry encourage a new influx of brokers?

I don’t know if “industry” can or should be responsible for it. It is up to the entrepreneurial spirit of individual business owners to analyze their own business and see how they can take it to the ‘next level’.

There are a large number of men and women in their late teens and early twenties who are desperate for a career, not a job.

Joining an advisor forum or Facebook group to get feedback and ideas is a great start.

Over the past 12 months we have actively recruited this caliber of people through apprenticeships and they are already passing the CeMAP exams.

If you would like your business to be listed in Broker Focus, please send an email Mortgage strategy Deputy Editor Gary Adams at: [email protected]

Previous Metro improves its BTL offer; joined MBT
Next FOS unveils an action plan to improve service