In the latest of our business profiles, we spoke with Mark Duguid, owner of Mark One Financial Services and Mark One Estate Planning, both based in Cadzow Street. We wanted to discover more on the background to his businesses and his work in Hamilton …
Mark is 46 and was born and bred in Strathaven. “I have lived the past 20 years in Hamilton with my wife, Louise. I have 2 children, Kym (26) and Kiera (14), and I also have a grandson, Parker, who is a year old.”
Mark owns Mark One Financial Services as well as Mark One Estate Planning – the businesses complimenting each other in the offering they provide to Mark’s clients. Mark explains: “The Financial Services Firm has been operating for 12 years with the majority of business generated through my loyal base of clients and their referrals and recommendations. The estate planning business is a natural bolt on – providing customers with all they need.”
We asked Mark how he got into the financial services sector. After working for the the Bank of Scotland’s International Division for a dozen years, he was “ready for a fresh challenge“. He says: “My Father, Alistair, had been a very successful estate agent in the town. Although I fancied the idea of becoming an estate agent, he coerced me into sitting exams to qualify to write mortgages!” Mark was then 29 and – in his own words “studying was not something I was overjoyed at the thought of”!
However 16 years on, Mark is still studying! “Mortgage lenders criteria are constantly evolving, the same can be said for insurance companies as they continually upgrade their policy definitions. It’s my job to make sure the client is placed with the best mortgage and insurance provider so knowledge of all products is key.”
He took his Dad’s advice, passed his CEMAPs and within a year, became a self employed adviser within the Remax Mortgage Network.
He won Remax’s Top Adviser award three years on the spin betrween 2005-2007 … everything was going great until … “Then the credit crunch hit. It was not a good time for anyone – but as a mortgage adviser, it was even more challenging.”
Mark had the confidence to start his own business: from the ashes of the recession, Mark One Financial Services became a reality. Since launching the business in early 2008, he has never looked back.
He cites his Dad as his inspiration, saying: “I feel I benefited from his work ethic and drive to succeed. My wife also stood by my side when things were tough at the start and – believe me – they were at times!” But Mark always believed that he could make things work. “Eventually the recession eased and I got back to doing what I love, writing business but also helping people realise their dreams too!”
His Will Writing Business goes “hand in hand” with the Financial Services Business. “Anyone who has a mortgage or children, really must have ample insurance in place – and a Will.” Carol Hutchison is Mark’s Personal Assistant and Will Writer: “And a fantastic job she does too!” says Mark.
What makes Mark One different? “We are a small business with big ideas! I carry out all client meetings and advise on a variety of mortgage and insurance related products. We make sure we always get the best outcome for our clients. We offer free annual reviews and home appointments … although at the moment the business has to be carried out remotely due to restrictions. I very much look forward to the day we can have face to face meetings again!”
In support, Carol (pictured below, right) oversees all the Will writing and deals with the backroom and compliance side of the business. She is also supported by Louise, Mark’s wife, in an administrative role. As Mark explains: “That back room gets pretty busy at times!”
We asked Mark what he considers to be his greatest achievement in his working career: “I suppose passing my CEMAP exams has got to be up there. I have also won 33 Mortgage industry awards and am very proud of my business which has a fantastic reputation in the town. For me, that is better than any award.”
Finally, as with all those who feature on our profiles, we asked Mark what he’d recommend for someone visiting Hamilton: “There are many nice places to eat in Hamilton – from coffee shops to restaurants – so please support all these businesses when you can.” He adds: “Chatelherault is also a wonderful place to spend a morning, afternoon or evening walking round the grounds and forest. This is a place I frequent a lot, particularly in the summer months. Oh and we also have a pretty good football team too!”
Thanks for reading.
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