Being alert to vulnerability is key for Financial Planners during a period identified by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as an unprecedented economic crisis.
Financial Planners know that vulnerability comes in many forms, especially when we consider the UK’s ageing population and the ever-evolving approaches employed by scam artists, using increasingly sophisticated technology and the tactics of fear.
Before the Coronavirus lockdown financial advisers were increasingly recognising the need to upskill in order to both spot and deal with vulnerability among their clients, including the growing risk of financial abuse.
Building trust has always been core to long-term client relationships but at this time the majority are having to maintain that relationship via the telephone, email or video call technology rather than through face-to-face meetings.
A one size fits all approach to communications has never been the right approach. To ensure a continued level of support throughout this unprecedented period, firms need to be clear on how and when they will communicate with clients as we all follow government guidance and social distancing.
In the past you may have only met face-to-face with the client but this swift switch to online family gatherings for some who have been told to self-isolate at home for 12 weeks is something clients may want to utilise for their meetings with you and will undoubtably enhance engagement in the future.
For vulnerable clients it also means that a family member or friend can be present during a virtual meeting where needed, for safeguarding reasons.
However, if you incorporate family members via video calls, remember as well as faceless fraudsters there is the potential for an increase in family financial abuse or pressure during this period.
Despite the issues, the speed at which advice firms throughout the UK have responded to a new way of working is commendable and will continue to demonstrate the value of professional advice in society.
Keith Richards is the CEO of the Personal Finance Society and has more than 30 years’ experience within the financial services sector. This exclusive column appears in the May-June issue of Financial Planning Today magazine and the column appears in each issue. To find out more about the magazine and to subscribe click here