60 Seconds with… John Phillips, national operations director, Just Mortgages


Having settled into your new role, what plans do you have for Just Mortgages in the next 12 months?

We have three objectives: to become a more customer-facing and holistic business; to raise the profile of the brand as hardly anybody knows who we are or of our link to the Spicer Haart group; and we have big expansion plans. The Spicer Haart group has just over 200 estate agencies and Just Mortgages has 115 advisers based in those branches. We need to increase this significantly so that everyone gets the advice they need. So we are on a big recruitment campaign for mortgage advisers; we aim to increase to 130 by the end of 2015 and to 150 by the end of 2016. We also want to make joining the group a career progression move so we are altering our structures to give our advisers career opportunities.

What challenges does the market face over the next year, specifically for estate agency-based advisers?

The biggest challenge will be simplifying the process. We need to ensure that advisers have a clear sales plan that takes account of all the regulatory changes. Estate agency advisers are often the first point of call for people buying a home but our challenge is ensuring that these advisers are the ones they go back to when they need to remortgage. We also need to ensure that the profile of advisers is high enough.

What would make the housebuying/mortgage process easier?

Lenders and brokers need a clearer understanding of what each other needs. It is essential that brokers understand what lenders require, how they want a case packaged and the quality needed. But lenders also must understand the challenges that brokers face and be consistent to help brokers always get it right and ensure that the client gets their mortgage in the shortest time. 

What advice would you give a new broker entering the industry?

Stick with it and learn, learn, learn. It is a great industry to be in.

Which famous person would you most like to meet and why?

Winston Churchill: he inspired a nation to stand up for what is good and right.

Do you have any secret talents?

I play drums in a rock band.

If you were not in your current role, what would you be doing?

I would be an engineer as I am a fully qualified toolmaker.