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A Day in the Life of… Conor Sturton-Manson, underwriting specialist, Pepper Money

My alarm goes off at… 6am, unfortunately.

I can’t leave the house without… a book and breakfast. If I don’t eat breakfast I don’t feel entirely human and a good book helps the time pass on my hour and a half commute.

I travel to work… on the Metropolitan Line from East London to Pepper Money’s head office in Uxbridge. It is a long journey on the tube, but I join the train at the beginning of the line in both directions, so I always get a seat!

The main purpose of my job is… to ensure that we are taking on plausible, suitable and safe business, and I do this by working in partnership with our brokers and customers. At Pepper Money, we don’t have separate teams to manage different parts of the application and so brokers can speak to an underwriter at any point throughout the process. In our area of the market, it is so important to be able to have a conversation to discuss a case, but brokers are still surprised when an underwriter picks up the phone. It’s hilarious that there is a perception that underwriters can’t be contacted – maintaining relationships with brokers is a big part of my job.

I joined from… Capital Fortune, which is a specialist mortgage broker in the City. I worked as a risk and compliance officer and it was my job to review each case before it was submitted to a lender. This gave me an excellent understanding of criteria.

To get my foot in the door… I started working in a temporary role in broker support at The Mortgage Works when I was 19, giving case updates to brokers all day. I moved on to case management and an underwriting role.

My typical day… starts with checking emails to ensure that I am up to date. Each day, the team leaders review the case load to identify the priorities, with a view to maintaining our target 24-hour turnaround time on cases. As underwriters, we cover the end-to-end process, so we are split into groups to work on an area that had been identified as requiring priority attention. This means my days are really varied. I could be working on the post one day and assessing DIPs the next. The consistent theme across every day is that the focus of our work is to help our brokers to place their interesting cases.

People may not know that I am responsible for… delivering Pepper’s values to our brokers. At some companies, values are just something to put on the wall, but we are all encouraged to embrace our values; to have a can-do attitude, be balanced and real. This is a motto that I live by and, as an underwriting specialist in constant dialogue with brokers, part of my role is to demonstrate these values to our intermediaries.

A common misconception about my job is… that underwriters are elusive box tickers who hide away from brokers. A big part of my role is to open up channels of communication with brokers and keep them as open as possible. At Pepper Money, we have mandates and that means that we have the ability to make decisions on behalf of the business. Brokers have our direct dial and we have a hunt group on the phone so that calls are always answered by an underwriter.

My favourite work memory is… obtaining my mandate was a fantastic accomplishment, but probably the Christmas party. I had only worked at Pepper Money for six weeks and so it gave me a great opportunity to get to know everybody.

A perk of the job is… Pepper Money is a relatively new specialist lender, but we have already enjoyed a lot of success to become a real force in the market. I really enjoy the sense of achievement of being on board for the ride.

To unwind after work, I like to… cook as it really relaxes me. I am also a bit of a technology nerd and enjoy playing video games. I should probably exercise more…

My role in five words is… diverse, challenging, exciting, empowering, collaborative.

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My alarm goes off at… …6.30, 6.45, 7.00, 7.15…   I can’t leave the house without… …earphones. I travel to work… …via the tube from South-west London. The main purpose of my job is… …ensuring that all parties involved in completing the transaction for our borrower are liaising with each other via me so that […]

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