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Firing Line: Dean Mason

Dean Mason, principal of Masons Financial Planning, might be always switching off at the end of every week but he tells Nicola Culley how he carved himself as the ‘mortgage man’ who ensures his face is always in the frame

By Nicola Culley | Published Jun 07, 2012 | comments

“It’s all been a crazy here to be honest,” he said.

Owner of Masons Financial Planning Dean Mason, answered his phone in the thick of young children with chicken pox and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel with a recently diagnosed heart murmur.

“It’s all been a crazy here to be honest,” he said.

But the chaos has not stopped Mr Mason from doing what he does best: dedicating Monday to Friday to his mortgage and protection clients.

From Nationwide mortgage adviser in Camden to Hertfordshire-based one-man band IFA, Mr Mason has carved himself out as ‘the mortgage man’ who ensures his face is always in the frame.

In March 1992, Mr Mason began working on the till for Nationwide and became a mortgage adviser for the provider. He then worked for LifeSearch between 2003 and 2005, before taking the leap and setting up as a sole trader.

At first he traded under the umbrella of another franchise within Openwork but 6 January 2009 was the day ‘mortgage man’ Mr Mason truly went it alone.

He said: “From a business point of view I could see IFAs were earning good money. At LifeSearch I realised I was doing all the work and giving all the advice and only getting paid 6 per cent.”

Mr Mason focused then, and still does, on mortgages and protection. He said provider breakdown of his income showed a minuscule amount of business coming from pensions and investments that just was not worth his while.

“I had built up a client base that knew me as the mortgage man,” he explained.

“After the collapse it was a tough time for mortgages but I had such a good client base there was not one week that went by without a new enquiry.”

The dark day for Mr Mason, he recalled, was the first week of March 2010. He had 23 mortgages on his books and Santander was taking an hour and a half to answer the phones. More than that, products and criteria were changing on a daily basis, he added.

Mr Mason said: “Santander was quoting the best rates but it was just useless. At one point I was being asked to get a dead grandmother’s signature. The person on the phone just was not listening to what I was saying and just had to tick box.

“To pacify them I had to get confirmation from the family to Santander that the grandmother was dead, despite it already being on records.”

Halifax saved Mr Mason’s mortgage business. According to Mr Mason, it was realistic and did not turn decent customers away.

He also owes his success through the bad time that was 2010 to investing in a long-term view. Mr Mason explained that he did many things his peers would not.

For example, if a client failed a credit score he would not walk away. Mr Mason would find out what went wrong and try to suggest ways to improve minor credit issues.

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