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Brokers should be just like Sven

There are many similarities between the jobs of football manager and mortgage broker, and Sven Goran-Eriksson provides a good role model for us all, says Sue Read

Like everyone else, I can’t resist jumping on the football bandwagon and make no apology for following the herd. The World Cup is well and truly under way and hopefully by the time you read this England will have won some matches and the country will be riding on a wave of euphoria about getting through the group stage and the prospect of Wayne Rooney getting a game.

I’m not especially a football person, although I do somehow manage to retain details of players and teams which my husband cannot do, and which have no apparent value on an everyday basis apart from the occasional quiz night.

My brother is a freelance football commentator so football is his life. I have fond memories of watching various World Cups over the years with my family, the final always being a big event in our house. So, like the rest of the country I will be following the team’s progress, although I draw the line at a car flag.

Being a manager of a football team has many similarities with what we brokers do. We have to gather information on the background, strengths and weaknesses of our clients. We examine how we can put together a proposition that will have a strong outcome. We spend much time learning the tactics of the opposition, if I can call lenders the opposition. We provide our team – which is what brokers and clients should be, after all – with moral support and encouragement throughout the process. And hopefully we emerge triumphant – to the victor the spoils.

I’ve often thought Sven-Goran Eriksson would make a good mortgage broker. He has qualities that would make him a big success. He’s cool. He’s calm. He isn’t easily sidetracked. He’s used to assimilating large amounts of data and making a selection which matches a given parameter, taking into account the good points of his team and the team he’s up against.

He’s quite good at persuading others to accept his point of view. He doesn’t bow to pressure. Even under the most trying of circumstances I’ve never seen him lose his temper. Yes, there’s a role model there for mortgage brokers – and I haven’t even mentioned his love life which I’m sure many of my male colleagues would aspire to.

Having gone with the crowd on the football thing, I must now add a small whinge. After all, this column would be nothing without one. I realise that we ladies in the financial services industry are seriously outnumbered by men. I also realise that there are many women in financial services who are keen football, cricket, rugby and golf fans. So I understand why the vast majority of corporate hospitality run by lenders and life offices has a male sporting bias. I’m even planning a trip to see some cricket soon myself.

But ladies, wouldn’t it be nice to be invited to something a little more female-oriented sometimes? Wimbledon, the Hampton Court Flower Show, Ladies’ Day at Ascot, the Good Food Show. I wonder how many of those men who look down their noses at us for not enthusing over a rugby match would respond to their feminine side and attend one of those events if invited.

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