This is a question many advice firms have been considering since the first Lockdown back in March 2020 and its back on the agenda again since the government announced its Plan B measures to tackle Omicron.
On the face of it the simple answer would appear to be yes. After all what do advisers need apart from a computer and a telephone? Well, it’s not quite that simple. The FCA have a detailed set of rules for advisers to follow many of which are focussed on the security of client data and preventing harm. These are the main issues to consider.
We have thought about whether its practical and these are some of the issues we came up with include:
- Financial Advisors needing to ensure the work-based equipment (computers and phones) and if clients visited then public liability insurance would be required.
- Increased levels of remote monitoring of calls would be required to ensure compliance.
- Amendments to employment contracts would be needed to cover home working issues.
- Health and safety checks would be required as employers continue to have a responsibility to employees.
- But most important of all are the data security issues:
- Secured internet connections would be required.
- Separate computers would be needed.
- Printing client information would need to be controlled to prevent sensitive information be picked up by shared occupants.
- A safe to store sensitive information would probably be required.
- Work based conversations would be to be controlled when the home environment was being shared.
The list goes on. On balance we decided early on that working from home was impractical. That remains our view, so we will be continuing to keep the Office open for business.