Advisers plan return to the office

Mortgage advisers are planning their return to the office this week as New Zealand enters level two lockdown, but face-to-face client meetings could pose challenges for the sector.

Tuesday, May 12th 2020, 8:00AM

Bruce Patten, NZFSG

Businesses can reopen under alert level two, but must ensure social distancing rules are put in place in the office or place of work. 

Physical distancing and strict hygiene standards are expected of businesses returning to the office this week, as the Covid-19 outbreak continues.

Advisers said they expect to return to some degree of normality this week, after months of working from home under lockdown. 

Businesses are working out whether to embrace face-to-face meetings again, or whether to stick to video conference calls. 

Auckland-based Bruce Patten, of NZFSG, will reopen his office on Thursday, but says the group will be "re-looking at how we interact with clients". 

Patten said some staff would continue to work from home, so employees can be spaced out: "We have had the office cleaned already and will be limiting who can come into the office as well. We will continue Zoom meetings as well where possible."

Geoff Bawden of Q Group and Bawden Consulting, will re-open his office next week.

Bawden says he will continue to conduct business meetings using Zoom, but will look to resume face-to-face client meetings.

"Client interviews are back on. I have clients waiting for a face-to-face meeting," Bawden says. 

Bawden will listen to client concerns before deciding on whether to use a face mask: "I guess if a client wanted a mask used I would follow their wishes."

He said he would take a "common-sense approach to customer visits" and would ensure physical distancing of a metre-plus. 

Glen McLeod of Edge Mortgages will start moving back into his office from Friday, but will open officially on Monday. 

"This is in line with schools going back, and I would rather leave things as they are to enable a smooth transition back for the team with children," McLeod said.

McLeod will continue to do Zoom meetings with clients, and expects to be a more digital operation in the months to come.

"We will embrace the learning from lockdown with implementing more paperless options," he added.

Kris Pedersen Mortgages boss Kris Pedersen says level four has given his business time to improve systems and processes. 

He hopes level two will see productivity "skyrocket", "as more customers accept remote meetings".


Tags: Bruce Patten Covid-19 Edge Mortgages Kris Pedersen Mortgage Advisers NZFSG Q Group

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