MI comes to broker’s international rescue

Mortgage Intelligence’s appointed representative network Spirit has gone international with the addition of an adviser working on a British military base in Germany.

Nigel Garside, proprietor of BFG Mortgages, has been in the mortgage and IFA business since 1988 and has clients in Germany, Cyprus, Hong Kong and Beijing.

He is based at the main command centre for Germany, where a number of civil servants are posted.

Nearly 30,000 UK military personnel are based in Germany, many of whom are looking to buy property in the UK. Most borrowers on military bases overseas buy property then gain a concession from lenders to rent it out. This is known as consent to lease.

Upon regulation, Garside asked the Financial Services Authority for direct authorisation but it could not accommodate him because of his location.

It suggested he look for a network that would be prepared to take responsibility and monitor him in Germany. Through his experience with MI’s parent group Close Brothers, a connection with MI was made.

Garside’s main requirement was to be linked to an IT-based network, with him living in Germany. MI worked closely with him to ensure everything is in order in this regard, and is in regular contact by phone and email. MI also undertakes regular compliance visits.

Garside says: “MI has a brilliant online system. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Germany or Bourne-mouth, it’s all laid out in front of me.”

One of the biggest challenges in helping military personnel abroad find homes is the number of lenders that don’t accept a British Forces Post Office address. British forces around the world use this form of address but it means they can’t be credit searched. MI has been building up a lender friendly database to deal with this problem.

Sally Laker, managing director of MI, says: “This is a great success story for us and it gives us an international flavour.”