MorganAsh readies financial advisers for Consumer Duty with MARS system upgrades

by | Sep 27, 2022

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The team at MorganAsh has announced further upgrades to its new adviser tool to help businesses better manage and evaluate consumer vulnerability.

As businesses prepare for Consumer Duty, the MorganAsh Resilience System (MARS) and its ‘Resilience Rating’ has been updated to help, with tailored questions around potential coercion now added as part of the vulnerability assessment.

This means firms can identify how vulnerable each client is to the potential risk of coercion or susceptibility to scams, with results contributing towards their overall Resilience Rating.

The MARS system has also gained additional consumer protected characteristics to help IFAs with their diversity reporting.

Consumer Duty now requires all firms to report on protected characteristics, reinforcing the Equalities Act. Adding extra characteristics not previously covered will allow firms to report on this with ease.

“We are really pleased to introduce yet more valuable upgrades for MARS, our comprehensive vulnerability tool,” comments Andrew Gething, managing director of MorganAsh.

“The updates draw on both user feedback and the FCA’s final guidelines for Consumer Duty, giving firms a reliable system to not only meet the demands of regulators, but best protect the vulnerabilities of their customers.

“Coercion of vulnerable people is of increasing concern, especially as scams become more sophisticated and more frequent. These updates to MARS enable firms to manage and monitor that vulnerability risk, all while showing a clear and consistent compliance approach with the ‘Resilience Rating’ – much like a credit score.

“As with the entire MARS system, we plan to develop this further over time to best meet the needs of financial advisers and their clients to help ensure they can always comply with Consumer Duty.”

The developments to MARS come as businesses head towards the first Consumer Duty deadline. By the end of October, firms must have their implementation plans agreed by their boards.

Then, firms must ensure all products in open books comply by July 2023, and all those in closed books by July 2024.

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