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Lenders step up support as advisers worry the pandemic has made it harder to spot vulnerable customers

New analysis of adviser sentiment on customer released today by leading equity release lender, more2life suggests that half of advisers say it is harder to identify vulnerable customers due to the impact of the pandemic.

Half (50%) say that being unable to provide face-to-face has made it harder while 20% feel that the pandemic has made the types of vulnerability more complex and 15% worry that being unable to involve family members has made it more challenging to identify potential vulnerabilities.  These concerns are likely to stem from the fact that 96% of equity release advisers believe it is very important to be aware and have an understanding of the issues around vulnerability when providing later life lending advice.

With 81% of advisers reporting in the 2020 survey that there was a need for both greater education and further resources to assist advisers in spotting and supporting vulnerable clients, the industry has taken heed and stepped up to help.  Almost two-thirds (63%) of advisers believe that the education and training on supporting client vulnerability has improved in the later life lending sector throughout the past 12 months. Almost a quarter (22%) noted that this improvement was ‘significant’.

Stuart Wilson, Corporate Marketing Director at more2life, comments: 

“While no one wants to be concerned that they are not providing the best possible service to their clients, the fact that there is almost unanimous agreement on the importance of being aware of and understanding vulnerability is good news. By acknowledging the added complexity of providing advice during a pandemic to a customer demographic which is more prone to vulnerability, advisers have taken the most important step to managing and mitigating the impact of this.

“As a lender which focuses on the over-55s market this is a topic which is of great interest to us and we are delighted to see that advisers acknowledge that as an industry we have taken heed and stepped up to help.  However, it remains clear that there is much to be done in this area – indeed, this job will never fully be ‘done’.

“We need to ensure that we do not take our foot off the accelerator and continue to drive forward positive change which helps advisers as they work to find the best options for their clients.”

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