How I became a broker – Jonathan Southgate's story

He started his career as a property agent

How I became a broker – Jonathan Southgate's story

Jonathan Southgate, founder of Bristol-based broker Sterling Southgate, considers his journey into the mortgage industry an interesting one. He has spent pretty much his whole working life in the property sector in one form or another.

But while working as a property agent 20 years ago, when he was just starting his career, he felt that advising clients on buying property and protecting their family attracted his interest more.

Getting into the industry

“I was fortunate enough to work with a mortgage firm as a client, and then become an advisor for them,” Southgate recalled.

It was while working at that mortgage firm that he was offered a place on its academy programme which fast tracked his progress. He trained for his Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP) and qualified in 2018.

“This academy was a real turning point and gave me the grounding to progress in the industry – an opportunity I hope to replicate for other trainee advisers across our region,” Southgate said.

Later, he established Sterling Southgate to provide advice on residential property finance including buy-to-let, personal protection, business protection, and private medical insurance.

Motivations to continue as a broker

Southgate believes that while the world has entered a new era where connectivity and technology are integral to the way people work, relationships and people need to remain at the heart of the work that’s done and the service that’s provided.

“We have moved on from pinstripe suits and clunky bank manager style meetings,” he remarked. “Tired with many of the current approaches, I’m excited to be part of the change, reshaping people’s expectations of mortgages and how they’re provided. Striving towards a seamless advice process that works for the way people live and work today.”

Southgate loves being at the coal face, in front of clients, helping them overcome challenges and complications that arise from other providers.

“I never tire of the look on their face when the mortgage offer is presented, and they’re able to make their next step,” he said.

Given the current climate, clients have become more and more focused on not only acquiring their home, but protecting it and their income. It’s easy for us to get caught up with numbers, data and products, but we’re keen to stay focused on the client – it is the peace of mind we’re providing, especially in these uncertain times.”

Looking to the future

Southgate was glad to share that the mortgage and protection advice business had been growing faster than he had anticipated.

With a number of advisors joining the practice over the past 12 months and building a name with a number of agents and referral partners, Southgate said it was well on its way to growing the advice practice to 10 mortgage advisers and five wealth managers across five regions in the south of the country.

“More importantly, we’re not just pushing growth at any cost, it’s really important to be working with people, partners, clients and colleagues that believe in what we do,” he stressed. “Culture and approach is a big part of who we are and what we’re building a reputation for.”

Shifting the subject to his personal priorities, Southgate said “family time is becoming more and more important.”

“Having started a family last year, my wife and I are navigating all the wonderful changes that come with that,” he shared. “Oh, and spending time with our four-legged friends too!”

Are you a mortgage broker who also has a story to tell? Leave a comment in the discussion box at the bottom of the page, and you might get your story featured here too.