- 39% of advisers believe that more detailed vulnerability training will be beneficial for the industry
- 22% of advisers cited documenting internal processes to show client support as the biggest single challenge facing firms in 2023
- 47% of advisers think the Consumer Duty guidance will drive change in the later life lending industry.
According to more2life’s bi-annual vulnerability report, two-fifths (39%) of later life advisers feel more ‘in-depth’ vulnerability training is needed to meet the requirements of today’s clients.
As the study reveals, an overwhelming majority of advisers (97%) felt it was ‘very important’ to be conscious and develop an understanding of client vulnerabilities. Just one in eight advisers said it was “easy to spot a vulnerable client” highlighting not only how seriously they viewed the issue but also the need for access to new or expanded resources.
Before the Consumer Duty deadline, advisers predicted the new regulations would affect current wisdom on managing vulnerable customers in several ways. Notable impacts included enhanced scrutiny around good outcomes (28%), clearer documentation of the process (26%), and expectation around more regular post-sales contact from both the adviser and the lender (13%).
Training and maintaining high standards are crucial for the sector’s future.
Over half of the surveyed advisers felt education and training on supporting vulnerable clients significantly improved in the past year, which is more than double the 22% of advisers who reported the same conclusion in 2021.
Nevertheless, advisers are curious to learn more. Just 21% of the survey respondents felt that current levels of training in the sector were sufficient, giving clear guidance to the industry on the need for more education.
Understanding the causes of client vulnerabilities remains key
Almost a third of clients were identified as vulnerable due to pressures stemming from the cost-of-living crisis. However, for the majority the common root causes were either longer term challenges or unrelated to the current economic turmoil – namely large interest-only mortgages (43%) or the various impacts of living to an advanced age (42%).
Ben Waugh, Managing Director at more2life, commented:
“While lenders, platforms and networks are being proactive in providing training and information, it is vital that our industry keeps pace with this evolving issue. Close collaboration is paramount to ensure that the most vulnerable customers receive swift and effective support in a challenging economic environment, and knowledge is key.
“Access to a wider range of training will empower advisers in the new regulatory environment. Educational resources such as learning modules on client vulnerability will equip advisers to both identify vulnerability and provide bespoke support on a case-by-case basis. Not to mention, the most prepared advisers will be able to seamlessly adjust to the new Consumer Duty regulations and provide thorough evidence of compliance when it comes to vulnerability.”