In February 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority issued guidance to financial firms called “Fair Treatment of Vulnerable Clients”. It also set out the key drivers of vulnerability:
Whilst we have always worked and offered services to consider all clients potential vulnerabilities. Now that the FCA has documented the same, we are endeavouring to make continued improvements for staff awareness, identifying vulnerable client positions and offer guidance on the same to ensure the best out come for you on financial wellbeing.
Life Events– What do we do when assessing a client's financial advice needs and vulnerability based upon major life events?
There are many major life events and we will all experience some or all of those listed below :
As qualified Chartered Financial Planners we have studied hard over the years to gain professional qualifications on pensions, pension law, retirement planning, financial planning, estates, inheritance taxes, trusts, estates, equity release and care fees planning. Therefore, we regularly help people with pre, at and post retirement planning. Sadly, we have helped many people with care fees, inheritance tax planning, wills, bereavement and probate.
The same can be said for people in financial difficulty and people with unexpected income and wealth gains as well as financial settlements and pension sharing orders on divorce or separation. We deal regularly with expats heading into and out of the UK but, as you would expect we rarely deal asylum or convictions.
We can help with many life events comfortably and have many years experience in helping people and guiding them. Retirement is one thing but bereavement or relationship breakdown is when we are perhaps at our lowest. This is where we take care to continually try and make it easier for you to deal with us or talk about difficult issues. For example:
We recognise it is hard for people to talk to outsiders about a death. We of course empathise given we have all lost loved ones but grief is different for each of us and we recognise that we all react differently or deal with matters arising differently.
On death, there is a lot of work to do in terms of informing HMRC, state pensions, land registry, local authorities, services, banking, investment, pensions, bills, subscriptions, probate court and more. Many suffering a close bereavement have never dealt with the sheer volume of paperwork and correspondence.
We also offer a Probate Service to take all of this pain away from a client so that they can grieve properly. We ensure that you should only need to give us information once. We make copious notes on accounts, numbers, telephone numbers, addresses, date of birth, date of death etc. Why? So that we do not have to ask you again and act as a constant reminder of a particular date or item.
We will not constantly offer sympathy, this goes without saying it. We are here, after all, to do a job for you, to take some but clearly not all the pain away. Yes, we have empathy and importantly, we make sure on bereavement that we are efficient and accurate to make the admin side of this easier so that you have more time to deal with the emotional impact and your mental wellbeing.