A conversation with a candidate got me thinking about how much the Intermediary channel has changed over the last 3 decades that I have worked in recruitment. That individual had been an “Inspector with GA” in the early 1990s. That well-known brand has changed about 3 times over that period and the role is certainly gone forever.

A competitive salary back then would have been £28,000, company car (an actual car that hopefully had been cleaned), benefits and bonus with a good Inspector earning £40,000 plus. Panels and the territory would be described as “Leeds National Accounts”, “Edinburgh South” or “City Centre” and with big organisations I recall city centres getting split up into smaller zones. The market dominated by large well-known Life and Pension Providers with their branch network.

Then many significant changes occurred. The internet, telephone account management, specialisation, salary inflation and more complex advice needs for the end client.

The Inspector title is gone, passed through the phases of Broker Consultant and Account Manager and now typically known as the Business Development Manager. The BDM no longer has a City Centre North patch and can even cover more than one country, Scotland and North England for example. London still might have a couple or more Relationship Managers covering the city and my personal favourite was a candidate that described his territory as “Outside London” and he meant it – Rest of UK, Ireland, Middle East and Europe!

The big Providers are still there though where they once had 20 Inspectors, they now have 1 BDM dealing with Retirement, Protection and/or Investments. Most of today’s players are niche across sectors such as Fund Suites (or just Fund), DFM, third-party support, platforms, SIPP/SSAS, Fintech, Tools & Systems, Tax Efficient products and Specialist Finance. Salaries doubled, then tripled, then higher again. Roles for newer BDMs starting at £45,000 to £55,000, average probably in the £60,000 to £80,000 range with top end breaking six figures. You will not get an actual physical car!

Probably all roles in Financial Services and Insurance have naturally changed to adapt to changes in technology, legislation and society itself, though for me one of the biggest shifts has been from Inspector to BDM. Good news for the modern BDM is at least you do not have to carry around all those proposal forms anymore! Bad news for the modern BDM is that you just don’t get to improve your golf handicap like before!