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One to One: Sally Laker, managing director, Mortgage Intelligence

Sally Laker

The benefit of having both AR and DA distribution, the importance of preparation, developing employees’ potential – and nearly becoming a ballet dancer

What is a standout moment from your career in the mortgage industry?

There have been many! But deciding to launch a network model prior to mortgage regulation in 2004, to run alongside the mortgage club, was an enormous task and a substantial investment.

We started preparation in 2003 and recruited brokers well in advance so that we were ready to launch with a fully developed offering on M Day 2004. Fortunately it was the right decision and the benefit of both AR and DA distribution has been the key to a successful 21 years.

If you could have done anything differently, what would it have been?

I never look back at ‘What if?’ because you can only do what you think is right at the time.

One of the key points I have learnt over the years is preparation in launching any new idea.

What is the USP of Mortgage Intelligence networks and Next Intelligence mortgage club?

The USP for both is to be a one-stop shop for brokers. We offer a strong proposition and a wide range of services so that our members feel they don’t need to look elsewhere.

We aim to be business partners so that we can work together and get the best out of the relationship. Sharing views and feedback is essential; listening to these views has helped to shape our proposition over the years.

What is the best aspect of your job?

I really enjoy managing people and bringing out their true potential. They often don’t realise how talented they are.

As a woman working in finance, do you feel equality in the sector has improved?

Yes. We have many champions in the industry.

Twenty-one years ago I was one of a very small group of women and now that has changed. I have never felt that being a woman was a barrier but now there are many more career opportunities in the industry.

What’s the one thing you’d like to achieve professionally over the next year or so?

The next goal is to encourage consumers to think more about protecting their income and family. We have invested in software and launched a new life proposition earlier this year so I am looking forward to building on that.

If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?

I might have been a ballet dancer. From an early age I had one ambition: a career as a dancer.

I won a scholarship to a London dance academy at 16, but I had also discovered a social life. I wasn’t sure I could dedicate my life to ballet, so I didn’t take it up. I did, however, take my teaching exams and enjoyed dancing for many years as a hobby.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

My dad; everyone loved and respected him.

He had fascinating stories about life as a morse-code operator in the RAF.

Later he was a successful manager in a large retail chain, then in retirement was called back as a troubleshooter. So many managers asked for him he had to go back full time!

His ethos was: ‘If you want something badly enough you will always find a way to achieve it.’

Do you have any secret talents?

Cake making. I did it professionally for a few years when my children were young.

No orders, please. I gave it up once I was at Mortgage Intelligence!

What do you do in your spare time?

I am a National Trust geek. They are beautiful places and always have an incredible story.

What is the best advice you have received?

‘Turnover is for vanity; profit is for sanity.’

If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities?

I am passionate about helping youngsters in their early teens to understand finance.

Secondary schools should have a compulsory subject of financial awareness so that pupils understand their commitment before buying an iPhone, iPad or car. It could prepare them for when they are looking at buying their first home.

Company history

Year established: 1996
Headcount: 54
Address: Roddis House, 12 Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth Dorset BH1 1LG
Tel: 01202 312955

BACKGROUND
Mortgage Intelligence consists of three AR networks plus Next Intelligence, a large well-established DA club. We offer an extensive range of broker services including a support desk for both mortgages and life enquiries.

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