Key Later Life Finance, the UK’s largest equity release advice firm, has seen positive results from its vulnerability assessments, with the help of MARS from MorganAsh.
MorganAsh and Key have been working together over the last year to enable later life advisers to identify and measure vulnerability, in line with the requirements of Consumer Duty.
Using MARS and its objective ‘Resilience Rating’, Key has completed pilots with consumers to obtain personal information and build a comprehensive picture of vulnerability. The results show positive levels of engagement with no consumer complaints and important information on consumer resilience secured.
Importantly, Key has highlighted that approximately 50 percent of its customers are potentially more vulnerable which is comparable to the findings of the FCA Financial Lives survey. While this is not definitive – it is a good benchmark as the Financial Lives survey is an extensive piece of research.
Will Hale, CEO of Key, the UK’s largest equity release advice firm said: “Good customer outcomes have always been at the heart of how Key transacts business so we are constantly looking at how we can better achieve this. In the current climate and with later life lending continuing to grow in popularity, it’s absolutely vital we fully understand the vulnerabilities of our customers so that we can build our service to best meet their needs. The work with MorganAsh and the MARS platform has proven very successful in helping us to reach this goal.
“With the Consumer Duty legislation due for introduction in July, we are also looking at ways we can improve our assessments and ensure we can provide consistent reporting to our senior team. Good customer outcomes will continue to be our focus but what this means will evolve and gathering this type of data will provide us with another opportunity to monitor changing customer characteristics over the lifetime of the product.”
The MARS system and its rating methodology enables lenders and advice firms to provide solutions based on a personalised understanding of individual client circumstances. Rather than each adviser undertaking a subjective assessment, MARS provides a consistent outcome. This removes the need for extensive training on how to handle and record vulnerable characteristics or what is appropriate to record to comply with GDPR.
The MARS tool also includes its own decision engine, allowing each company to configure relevant next steps – referred to as “treatments” – for each consumer characteristic in each
circumstance. In the next step, MorganAsh and Key will continue to configure treatments to best assess characteristics and apply vulnerability policy consistently across the company.
Andrew Gething, managing director at MorganAsh, said: “MARS was carefully designed to provide an impartial and consistent outcome every time on a client’s vulnerability and resilience. Nowhere is this more important than in markets such as the later life lending arena which are specifically designed to cater to older customers who may be more vulnerable.
“MARS is already proving its worth for Key, successfully identifying vulnerable characteristics in a consistent manner. Not only is this great for consumers, but it takes a considerable burden off individual advisers and provides the necessary data needed for Consumer Duty.
“Training staff on every option of how to cater for consumer characteristics would have been a mammoth task and can become a massive overhead. Instead of this overhead, the MARS tool enables company policy to be communicated to all users instantly and to be available when particular circumstances occur. It’s a great use of technology to clearly improve customer outcomes.”