MortgagesMar 17 2023

Brokers frustrated at advice restrictions when overseas

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Brokers frustrated at advice restrictions when overseas
Pexels/Armin Rimoldi
BySonia Rach

A number of brokers have expressed their frustrations about being unable to service a client while on holiday overseas.

Currently, brokers may struggle, or are simply unable, to give advice when overseas, as the FCA and some banks and networks require them to be on UK soil for compliance and legal reasons. 

Some networks and banks will not let them access their systems from overseas - including through a VPN. 

Gary Boakes, director at Verve Financial, said: “This is all incredibly frustrating, as we have a network that has adopted these rules. Gone are the days of doing a mortgage application by the side of a pool, as working on holiday is often the only way of having a holiday when you are self-employed. 

“I have previously had a client that during Covid was able to work from home so he moved to his parent's holiday-let in France.

“To transact the mortgage we had to get him to travel back to the UK so we could advise him of our recommendation.”

Likewise, Katy Eatenton, mortgage and protection specialist at Lifetime Wealth Management said the rules in place currently are frustrating. 

“When the world is gearing up towards remote working, not being able to work when you’re on holiday or moving overseas for a couple of months of the year is extremely annoying, not to mention inconvenient,” she said.

“Where you are located in the world doesn’t affect the advice that you give to your clients, and the fact that some networks allow it, and some don’t means there’s no hard and fast rule. 

“We need actual guidelines rather than individual preferences dependent on individual lenders and networks.”

Luke Thompson, director at PAB Wealth Management, also said this is something that needs to be looked at within the industry, especially for one man band firms.

Thompson has been advised by his compliance network that advisers are not allowed to engage with customers while outside of the UK. 

“However, most advisers will only have one phone number for example and turning round to a customer and saying I can't do anything with your issue until I get back to the country sounds very much 'computer says no' and doesn't offer the level of customer service that most advisers I know look to achieve,” he said.

Computer says no

Elsewhere, some advisers said this is an issue that has been “bubbling for a while” and needs to be addressed properly.

Scott Taylor-Barr, financial adviser at Carl Summers Financial Services, said: “I don't think the rule around adviser and client being on UK soil at the point advice is given in itself is wrong.