First Financial was established in 1997 by our Chairman, Michael Caplan. His vision was to create a family-centric business with good honest values – and where the client always comes first. He was joined by his son James (Managing Director), who followed in his father’s footsteps, providing the type of service where nothing is too much trouble, and nothing is seen as impossible.

Michael and James, along with Director Simon Ryder, have always believed it’s important to bring new talent into the business and nurture people who could be the next leading light in the industry. That’s exactly what happened many years ago when they first met their latest addition to the board, Gavin Pearse.

Let’s hear his remarkable story:


Gavin’s rise through the ranks

Q:         What made you want to become a mortgage adviser?

A:         I’ve always loved talking to people, be that at university or in previous jobs. As a Mortgage Adviser, you get to know a client and help them purchase their first property or their future home, and that’s a great feeling. I had friends in this industry and they all spoke about how rewarding it can be.


Q:         Why First Financial?

A:         After deciding I’d like to join the mortgage industry I asked an estate agent friend which company he would recommend to his clients. He said First Financial and spoke very highly of James – so I decided to contact him. We met for an informal chat and I explained that I still had to obtain my mortgage qualifications, so we agreed to meet again once I’d got them. Three weeks later, James called to see how I was getting on, and I was able to tell him that I’d just passed my final exam. The next step was to join the business.


Q:         What impressed you about First Financial?

A:         When I first met James, he spoke so passionately about the company and the fact that First Financial was a family company with their clients’ best interests at heart. I had spoken to other companies, but from day one I knew First Financial was a place that I could learn the mortgage market as well as grow, both personally and professionally.


Q:         What was your first role with First Financial?

A:         I joined the business in March 2014 as a Trainee Mortgage Adviser. Under the mentorship of James and Simon, I learnt every aspect of the mortgage industry and how to become a broker who can continuously deliver. This invaluable experience and support enabled me to build solid relationships with our introducers and bring in consistent levels of business.


Q:         Where are you today?

A:         In January 2020, I was made a Director, tasked with helping the company run smoothly and grow – both in terms of clients, but also employees. I take a great interest in training new people to work at First Financial because I want them to receive the same first-class guidance and support I received.


Dedicated to development

As a business, we want First Financial to be known as expert, creative and dependable. But we also want to be known for developing new talent and helping our people. Gavin says, “I joined First Financial as an adviser with absolutely no experience. I needed to learn the processes from scratch and, fortunately, James and Simon saw potential in me. They provided a nurturing and supportive environment to learn and along with Katie Badiani, helped train me to become the adviser I am today. I have been fortunate that James, Simon and Michael have become genuine friends, and that support has provided me with the guidance to progress from adviser to director and help shape the future of First Financial.”


If you’d like to know more about working with us or how we help our people progress, please get in touch.