Client vulnerability: creating a more inclusive service

By Nathan Munt, Lucas Fettes Financial Planning
Considering how your business can cater to clients who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances is an important step toward providing truly inclusive services.

Published in Norfolk Director magazine Autumn | Winter 2022

Ensuring Business As Usual: Lucas Fettes Financial Planning

It can be challenging to define client vulnerability. Officially, a vulnerable client is someone who, due to their circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm and particularly when a business is not acting with an appropriate level of care.  

Identifying client vulnerability

Vulnerability can take many forms, and it is important to recognise that anyone can become vulnerable at anytime. Various criteria are used to determine whether a client should be considered vulnerable*.

  • Health – Physical disability, severe long-term illness, poor mental health or cognitive impairment
  • Life events – Bereavement, relationship breakdown, retirement
  • Resilience – Low income, low emotional intelligence, over-indebtedness or loss of income
  • Capability – Poor literacy, numeracy or digital skills, learning impairments, no or low access to support

These factors can result in detriment to finances and health if support is not provided. Having measures to assist clients (and employees) can also elevate your company’s image internally and externally.

What steps can your business take?

There are several steps your business can take to provide a more inclusive service for vulnerable clients.

  • Consider their needs and any adjustments necessary to provide additional safeguarding or services
  • Review your policies and procedures – how accessible and inclusive are they?
  • Provide training to staff – do they know what signs to look out for?
  • Offer a range of support tools and methods for communicating

Make sure to keep these measures under review and update them regularly.

What has Lucas Fettes Financial Planning implemented?

At Lucas Fettes Financial Planning, we aim to promote and communicate our services through various mediums, in ways our clients can easily understand.

So far, we have taken several steps to ensure our services are more inclusive.

  • We conducted training for employees to ensure that our advisory and support teams are aware of when somebody may be considered vulnerable. The safeguarding actions they take should ensure that clients receive a high level of service.
  • Several employees have completed training and are ‘Dementia Friends’.
  • We have committed to the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce’s Charter, which comprises nine pledges to support vulnerable clients.
  • Our team have provided presentations to other professionals we work with to help raise awareness and to share ideas across industries.

We aim to ensure our services continue to be suitable for vulnerable individuals. We know we have additional steps to take and are continuing to review our approach, policies and procedures.

Lucas Fettes Financial Planning® is a registered trading name of Lucas Fettes & Partners (Financial Services) Limited and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*The categories used to identify vulnerable clients within this article were set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Other professional bodies and organisations may adopt other categorisation methodology.

Client vulnerability: creating a more inclusive service 1

Nathan Munt is a Chartered Financial Planner at Lucas Fettes Financial Planning, a multi-award-winning chartered firm of independent financial planners.

T: 01603 706854
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