Conti looks to East Europe

Conti Financial Services is expanding into countries earmarked to become members of the EU.

The company already offers mortgage products in Poland and is close to entering Romania and Bulgaria. It also plans to move into the Czech Republic and Hungary by the end of the year.

The moves are part of the firm&#39s five to 10-year plan to expand across Europe, taking advantage of the boom in emerging markets.

Clients&#39 reasons for borrowing abroad include wanting holiday homes and UK workers buying rather than renting in the country while working abroad.

Conti says what separates it from other firms is the level of support it offers borrowers when they are trying to complete transactions abroad.

Simon Conn, senior partner at Conti Financial Services, says he is concerned about the numbers of firms offering mortgages abroad without offering follow-up advice.

With the legal situation in each country differing so radically Conn says it is vital that proper advice is sought. He emphasises that brokers should be wary of developers asking for cash so that the property would have to be funded by a remortgage.

Conn cites the example of four clients buying properties in Greece who discovered that the houses they were planning to buy had never been legally registered. Fortunately, this was discovered when funding through a Greek bank was being processed.

He says: “If the client had raised the money on their property in the UK the likelihood is they would have paid cash and would not have received advice.”