Compliance and the open day to remember

Final blog post for 2023! Merry Christmas to everyone and anyone that has committed time to reading my blogs this year! Given that this time of year is all about making lists and checking them twice, I figured it’s time to talk about every adviser’s favourite topic…

Compliance! (not very festive I know but stick with me)...

No doubt the most valuable part of mortgages (if you want to stay trading!) As an adviser, the biggest exposure you’ll have to compliance is of course, the dreaded case check. That event where a submitted case is scrutinised within an inch of its life to make sure the advice is spot on, the client’s been able to make an informed decision and that you’ve seen some proof that the clients are who they say they are and that you’ve had an explanation of the 50+ in play sports bets that you’ve seen on a bank statement…

So much can be undone by failing to get a case in the correct shape before submission. I’ve seen fantastic sales results derailed by poor attention to detail or lack of sufficient evidence. No matter how innocent a mistake, the penalties can be extremely high. So what’s the best way to avoid this very avoidable situation?

For me in my adviser days, it was a ‘Right first-time checklist’ – a simple yet fantastically perfect tool, for both new and experienced advisers that can ensure every case passes at first time of asking. A checklist that contained step by step points to cover all what was required before clicking submit. It became the first thing I introduced to any team that I managed in the future where each case needed a completed ‘RFTC’ attached to it.

The importance of having a checklist prior to committing to a ‘point of no return’ can be useful in many times in life, not just for case checks. It’s great before leaving the house to go on holiday. It’s ideal on a moving day when you know you need to remember everything (like meter readings… urgh!) It could also be very useful if you decide to ‘use the facilities’ in a vacant property on an open day…

I remember it was Christmas time, as on the way to said open day, there was a rogue inflatable Santa terrorising the local village after its securing ropes had broken. My colleague and I were on our way to host this open day for a large property (that had once been a former business) and after stopping along the way to wrestle with this Santa on behalf of the very embarrassed owner of it, we arrived at the property.

It was a typical dark December day so we were desperately hoping the place still had power. As luck would have it, it did, and even though only about 30% of the fluorescent bulbs actually worked, we we’re ready. It was a popular location and a rare type of building with a bit of land so it was the busiest open day I remember ever having. After we said goodbye to the last couple, my colleague announced to me that he was going to ‘use the facilities’ as he’d ‘had a movement’ (he was famed for his delightful descriptions)

About 15 minutes later I get a text from my colleague:

“There’s no paper”

I thought he was winding me up. He then sent a follow up:

“The waters also off… this is bad!!!”

Before I could even think about replying, I heard the sound of tyres on the gravel drive. A lovely family of 5 get out of the car, keen to view. I quickly text “Open the window there’s more viewers!” and the last thing I see is the reply “The windows have been painted shut!” (emoji’s weren’t used back then but you can imagine there would be about 8 crying emoji’s at this point…)

At this point I’m in the house with the family. My red-faced colleague joins us and starts taking them on the tour while I frantically try and find the stopcock for the property. As fate would have it, I couldn’t turn it on for the life of me. Years of it being turned off had taken its toll and it just wasn’t happening. My colleague looked at me hopefully from the hallway but I just had to slowly shake my head. He turns to the family to warn them ‘it’s a bit of a state upstairs…’

So whether it’s case checks, holidays planning or getting caught short in a vacant house, my advice is always use a checklist before it’s inevitably too late!

Steven Poole
Dashly Operations Manager - Intermediaries
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