- more2life welcomes the FCA’s latest guidance on the treatment of vulnerable customers
- Research from the lender also uncovered that the vast majority (81%) of advisers want more education to help identify vulnerability
- 74% of consumers would value vulnerability support from advisers
more2life has welcomed the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) final guidance on the treatment of vulnerable customers, released today. The equity release lender has also published findings highlighting advisers’ and consumer views on the issue.
The FCA’s guidance explains that to achieve good outcomes for vulnerable customers, firms should understand the nature and scale of characteristics of vulnerability in their target market and customer base, while ensuring staff have the right skills and capability to recognise and respond to the needs of vulnerable customers. The guidance also stipulates the need to put in place systems and processes that support the delivery of good customer service and ensure all communications and information about products and services are understandable for consumers.
Research from more2life on almost 600 advisers and 1,400 customers about vulnerability over the last three years found that:
- More advisers are identifying vulnerabilities amongst their clients with 39% saying they had seen an increase in the last twelve months (30% in 2019)
- Most advisers (81%) would like to see more education and resources to help them identify if clients are vulnerable
- The vast majority (82%) of advisers think there is a need for family members to be involved in the equity release process with 79% agreeing that when family members were, they were pleased that their parents were improving their lifestyles
- Almost a third (30%) of over-55s homeowners have felt vulnerable when making a financial decision – with more women (32%) than men (28%) feeling this
- Four out of ten (40%) of over-55s homeowners believe that as you get older you do become more vulnerable and 74% would welcome additional support from advisers as part of the advice process
Dave Harris, CEO, more2life comments: “Working with older customers, the equity release advisers are acutely aware of how important it is to provide the right support to vulnerable customers. We welcome today’s guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority as it further cements the need to ensure that advice is tailored, appropriate and designed to help vulnerable customers make the right choices for their individual circumstances.
“With this latest guidance, firms now have a clearer understanding of the FCA’s roadmap to achieving good outcomes for vulnerable customers. While only a third of people admit to feeling vulnerable when making a financial decision, 74% would welcome additional support from their adviser if they felt that they may be potentially vulnerable. These conversations are not always easy but the FCA’s report highlights just how important it is to have them.
“With more advisers identifying vulnerabilities amongst their customer base, the vast majority are keen to understand more about how they can do this and are looking to lenders for support. We need to step up to the plate and provide them with the education, information and support that they need.”
The ‘Who are you calling vulnerable?’ report was based on three tranches of research on almost 600 equity release advisers which took place in October 2018, July 2019 and March 2020. This is supplemented by consumer research on 1,400 over-55s homeowners carried out by Opinionmatters in August/September 2020.
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