An interview with Jason Berry: 'With bridging, the true costs
Jason Berry

An interview with Jason Berry: 'With bridging, the true costs and fees are not always understood by advisers'

In an interview with Bridging & Commercial, Jason Berry, group sales director at Crystal Specialist Finance (pictured above), discusses the need for more education in the bridging market and the benefits of having a referral relationship.

As this is a newly created position, you have the opportunity to somewhat shape this job and make it your own. What do you plan to implement as Crystal’s first group sales director?

Crystal Specialist Finance has had amazing growth over recent years, so it is clear there are some brilliant people and excellent processes already in place. Positively, this means no huge overhaul is needed, but undoubtedly some effective tweaks will deliver exceptional gains. My initial focus is on helping the leadership team with sales structure and distribution strategy, but I also look forward to working with the sales team so best-in-class support can be delivered to those advisers using us.   

With Crystal Specialist Finance announcing its first webinars in 2020, do you think the industry can do more to educate brokers on bridging finance?

Absolutely, but it is very much about communicating in a way which suits the intermediary marketplace. The webinars will be supported by marketing messages, attendance at expos or roadshows, and effective activity from our telephone account managers and field sales teams.

With bridging, the true costs and fees are not always understood by advisers and often the plan to exit and repay funds is unclear. Using a specialist, such as Crystal, will definitely help advisers construct tailored client solutions and these webinars are a perfect way for us to share best practice. 

What is the one thing advisers tend to do that you think they should change? 

All advisers should offer holistic advice, and where they are not a specific area expert, they should have a referral relationship with a firm and/or an individual who is. This ensures unwanted competition is kept out, but also that clients see their adviser as the ‘go-to’ person for all things financial services related.

What area of specialist lending do you see offering the most opportunity? 

This is difficult to answer as I genuinely believe the very best companies should deliver solutions across all areas of specialist lending. I must say that having represented a single lender proposition in the past, the exciting thing for me with Crystal is the advantage multiple lenders and product solutions bring. This is a huge benefit to our advisers and their customers. I look forward to championing the cause for this distribution model type as I move through 2020.  

How did you get into the industry? 

Looking at my unathletic frame you wouldn’t think so, but I was a failed professional football player. After finishing with a back injury, I saw a friend driving around in a nice sports car and I established that he was working for Prudential selling insurance. I wanted a similar car, so the next day I got a job with rival Pearl Assurance. That home service background was a great apprenticeship for me and served me well prior to moving into the lending sector with Platform Home Loans in 1998.

If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing? 

I’ve just had seven months off enjoying myself and not working. During this time, there has been opportunity to weigh up my options and move in different directions, but the reality is the financial services marketplace has served me and my family extremely well over the years. I truly cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

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