Strong Advisor Demand For Vulnerability Support – UK’s Just Group


Strong Advisor Demand For Vulnerability Support – UK's Just Group

Just Group, a FTSE-listed specialist UK financial services company, has just released an update of its Consumer Vulnerability in Later Life training.


The Consumer Vulnerability in Later Life training has
now reached 15,000 completions, showing the strong demand
from financial advisors, paraplanners and other colleagues to
improve their knowledge and capability in order to work with
vulnerable customers, according to retirement specialist Just Group.


The free-to-use, interactive digital training was launched
by Just Group and SOLLA in 2019 to equip
financial advisors, paraplanners and other colleagues in advice
firms with the tools and insight needed to support vulnerable
customers.


Demand for the training has increased since it was launched, as
the pandemic and then the cost-of-living crisis raised the
profile of vulnerable customers and emphasised the advice
community’s responsibility to ensure the fair treatment of these
customers, the firm said in a statement.


A vulnerable customer is defined as someone who, due to their
personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm –
particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of
care.  


The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) view of vulnerability is
on a spectrum of risk. All customers are at risk of becoming
vulnerable, but this risk is increased by having characteristics
of vulnerability. These could be poor health, such as cognitive
impairment, life events such as new caring responsibilities, low
resilience for coping with financial or emotional shocks and low
capability, such as poor literacy or numeracy skills. 


Just Group said the strong demand for the training is reflected
in the high take-up which has been completed 15,000 times by the
advice community. The training has been updated each year to
reflect guidance on the effects of the pandemic, the
cost-of-living crisis and more recently, FCA direction. The
latest update was launched in May 2023 to incorporate the FCA’s
guidelines on dealing with vulnerable people and its new Consumer
Duty, as well as a general refresh of imagery and new helpful
resource links, the firm continued.


The new UK Consumer Duty regime states that firms
should provide customers with products and services that meet
their needs and offer fair value. Customers should receive
communications which they can understand and should get the
customer support they need when they need it. See more here. 


“People can be vulnerable for many reasons and events like these
bring added pressures which can trigger vulnerability. It
emphasises the importance of treating customers fairly and this
requires identifying and supporting those with characteristics of
vulnerability,” Stephen Lowe, group communications director
at Just Group, said. 


“We created the Consumer Vulnerability in Later Life training
with content provided by SOLLA to keep intermediaries updated on
the latest guidance in the sector. We provide them with relevant
tools and insight to build and maintain effective strategies for
helping vulnerable customers. It’s great to see so many in the
advice community benefiting from the training,” Lowe added.


Just Group is a specialist in the individual retirement income,
care and defined benefit de-risking markets, managing more than
£26 billion ($33 billion) of customers’ retirement savings, and
helping customers release over £6.5 billion from their
properties.



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