More help needed to deal with vulnerable customers

Michael Lloyd

September 12, 2019

protection policies

Three quarters (75%) of equity release advisers believe there is a need for greater education and additional resources to provide guidance on how to recognise and deal with vulnerable clients, more to 2 life has found.

This is a decrease from 88% in 2018 which more 2 life argue is due to the adviser community is making use of the increased support provided by lenders and other bodies.

Dave Harris, chief executive officer at more 2 life, said: “Vulnerability continues to be an important issue across the entire financial services sector and this research highlights that the equity release market is no exception.

“It’s clear that advisers need more support and education to help them identify and serve vulnerable customers to ensure that they provide the right financial outcomes for their situation.

“As an industry, we need to work together to give advisers the skills and confidence to recognise signs of vulnerability, and to communicate with clients and manage their requirements effectively.

“As the UK’s population ages and a greater number of older homeowners turn towards equity release as a source of income, advisers will be in a vital position to ensure they are able to help all consumers through the advice process and meet their needs in later life, including those who may be potentially vulnerable.

“On the more 2 life website, we currently house a range of resources to help advisers with vulnerable clients, including a webinar with mental capacity expert, Tim Farmer, as well as our information available through our Lending Lab which includes further support for advisers on the area.”

More 2 life is calling on the wider lending market to raise awareness amongst advisers of the signs of vulnerability and to provide greater education and resources for advisers to better help these customers.

Nearly all advisers said that it is important to be aware of vulnerability and have an understanding of these issues when dealing with equity release clients.

Nine out of 10 advisers (87%) admitted that it was difficult to spot vulnerable customers – potentially due to the fact that vulnerability is not a consistent state and can take a variety of different forms.

Some 81% felt that less than a fifth of their client bank was vulnerable which was a slight uplift from last year (74%) and supports the idea that engagement is growing within this community.

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