View more on these topics

Music to my ears

My first foray into the world of work was at the tender age of 16 when I paid my way through college and university with a part-time job in the meat department at my local Waitrose in Godalming.

It was there that I first felt the thrill of the pay rise 5p an hour, which left me with an extra 44p a week. Despite this excess of riches, I left there after university having learnt two vital life lessons – one, retail is a lot of hard work with very limited reward and, two, there are few things finer in this world than a really good steak.

Thus began the search for a career that put this acquired knowledge into practice. My best friend at the time had just embarked on a career in financial services and was busy making and spending a mint while the rest of us hung round in our West German Army surplus jackets dreaming of forming the next Nirvana.

Unfortunately, dreams of being the next Kurt Cobain nourish the soul but do not fill the belly and spurred on by a typical young lad’s “anything he can do I can do better” attitude, I opted to put aside my proletariat pretensions and try my hand at the financial world. After all, as the legend goes, money is the root of all evil but also the cure for all sadness.

It was NatWest that was the first recipient of my new ambition, where I joined as financial planning manager, selling pensions, investments, life insurance, mortgages and associated products in a number of local branches. It proved to be something I was rather good at and I managed to move up the ranks to become a personal mortgage adviser, building client relationships to become one of the top 10 salesmen in the region.

I was then promoted to area sales manager for the South-east. Despite being the top area sales manager in 1999, shortly afterwards, NatWest made most of us redundant. I cannot say it was too terrible a loss. By my last year, I was starting to feel more like a taxi driver than a sales manager, driving hundreds of miles around the country for various meetings. It was time for a break.

I made the most of the enforced rest with a couple of months cooling my heels in South East Asia before coming back ready for a new challenge. I joined Hamptons Mortgages as one of its first employees and the second mortgage consultant and have, cliched as it might sound, never looked back.

I began to take on new areas of responsibility such as writing and distributing our best buys, developing and implementing various projects as the business grew while somehow still managing to be the number one salesperson in our first full year of trading.

I was lucky enough to join at an exciting period of development at Hamptons and to benefit from the wise counsel and experience of directors Steve Smith, now at Square Mile, and James Rodea, now at Savills.

Today, my role involves some sales, service issues and product development with lenders, IT and infrastructure and relationships with our estate agency parent group. In addition, I have the dubious honour of being the “face of Hamptons” with the press, writing regularly for trade titles, offering comment to nationals and helping to build our profile with lenders and the public. I work closely with our managing director, Kevin Duffy, who despite his love of Arsenal (I am a Spurs fan) is a much respected figure in the mortgage industry.

I got married in 2003 and luckily my wife is understanding about the long working hours and the terrible strain of being a social butterfly. She is busy studying for ACCA so in truth probably prefers me to be out and about rather than making a racket at home.

I may not have had a hit album or stolen the show at Glastonbury but my job is fantastic fun and I reckon the hospitality could give any backstage party a run for its money.

Business dinners and press lunches may have conspired to add four stone to my bulk since I first joined but at least I get to enjoy a great steak on a regular basis.

Jonathan Cornell is technical director at Hamptons Mortgages


Threesixty website to offer IFA ‘showroom’

threesixty services is inviting IFAs to showcase themselves and their businesses to clients on its website.threesixty is mailing a number of network members and directly authorised IFA practices to encourage them to submit their details to make them accessible to clients who have registered for the service, who can then browse for potential business opportunities.The […]

NAPF wants to stop schemes levelling down

The National Association of Pension Funds has attacked both the industry and pension commission’s models for personal accounts and warned the Government that the scheme could severely hit existing pensions if it is designed poorly. In its submission on the Pensions White Paper, the NAPF says both models fail to achieve the best solution with […]


This week in Pensions

With the Pensions White Paper consultation finally drawing to a close this week it has been very difficult to get many pensions stalwarts to talk about anything else.

IFS sets exam for complaints staff

A dozen financial advisers in Northern Ireland have grouped together to promote the benefits of Chartered Financial Planner status. Led by KM Financial Planning Services Kieron May, the Northern Ireland Chartered Financial Planners’ group is hosting a one-day conference for solicitors, accountants and financial planners to discuss inheritance tax and estate planning after the Finance […]

Mark Page: why my biggest overweight stock is a discount Spanish retailer

Artemis European Opportunities Fund manager Mark Page is questioned about the merits of investing in Spanish supermarket group, Dia. Dia is a 7,000-store Spanish discount supermarket chain. But with cheaper food prices coming on to the market and an improving Spanish economy, journalist Alexis Xydias questions Mark about its inclusion in the Artemis European Opportunities […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm