Consumer Duty and how to handle vulnerable clients queries

by | Oct 14, 2022

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ValidPath, the network for independent financial advisers, has revealed that Guaranteed Annuity Rates, UK clients moving overseas, and how to handle vulnerable clients amidst the new Consumer Duty rules are amongst the top queries raised by advisers this past quarter.

Nicola Butterworth, Financial Advice & Compliance Director, ValidPath commented:In a constantly changing regulatory landscape, it is no surprise that we have seen adviser queries increase in recent years. As the FCA looks to meet the challenges of a post-pandemic recovery, policies are naturally evolving, causing uncertainty amongst advisers, and resulting in increased demand for assistance. This is further exacerbated by customers who, in re-evaluating their finances and retirement plans amidst a cost-of-living crisis, are questioning their current portfolios and seeking new investment avenues from advisers.”

The process of obtaining financial advice is something that’s deeply personal, and ongoing impacts from the pandemic have resulted in many more people falling into the category of ‘vulnerable clients’. As the FCA rightly continues to prioritise protecting and safeguarding customers, ValidPath expects advisers to increasingly need support with how to identify clients’ vulnerabilities, particularly as guidance changes are made to support Consumer Duty regulation.

For many people, the pandemic has also accelerated retirement plans, with ValidPath seeing advisers seeking input with the process surrounding clients moving overseas with UK pensions, and how best to continue to offer advice and support client needs within a compliant framework.

In relation to Guaranteed Annuity Rates, the expanded definition of what falls under this classification is causing more adviser interest around how to treat those under pension transfer legislation.

Emma Smith, Financial Advice & Compliance Manager, ValidPath added. “We are always available to assist with adviser queries. To ensure that we can provide the highest levels of support and technical expertise, ValidPath has made significant investment in both staff and technology to support the culture of collaboration and cooperation that exists within the network.”

Philip Dragoumis, Director at Thera Wealth Management, said: “In such a challenging economic climate, it is vital advisers give clients the support and information they need to make satisfactory financial decisions. As the FCA sets higher standards for Consumer Duty, it’s no surprise that advisers increasingly need the type of technical support provided by ValidPath to ensure compliance and good customer outcomes.”

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