The Personal Finance Society launched the independent Financial Vulnerability Taskforce in January.
The charter aims to encourage the advice profession to recognise and address consumer vulnerability. It also strives to improve client outcomes and increase access to financial advice.
The taskforce will share good practice while also addressing both regulatory standards and public expectations, the PFS says.
Financial advisers who adopt the Financial Vulnerability Charter commit to nine core consumer guide pledges, including ensuring clients’ interests are placed above commercial interests.
The pledges also recognise how vulnerability can cover physical, mental or emotional issues. Vulnerability can also be short term or long term and may be hidden, the charter says.
Laura Thursfield, leader of the Birmingham Financial Planning team at Mazars LLP, has committed to follow the taskforce Charter, she told the PFS.
She said: “A sense of financial security is integral to an individual’s wellbeing. As a profession we have a duty to ensure we are able to recognise all aspects of vulnerability and act in a way that ensures this sense of security is not compromised, alongside actively working to remove any barriers that prevent individuals from seeking advice and support.
“It is a privilege to support this initiative and I would encourage all members of the profession to sign up to the Charter.”
Robin Melley, Chartered Financial Planner of Matrix Capital Limited, told the PFS: “The Financial Vulnerability Taskforce is a great example of a professional body stepping up with a plan of action to fight back against this issue which will have massive benefits for everybody in our society. I would encourage all involved with financial advice and planning to sign up to this initiative, there is no excuse for ignoring this initiative if we want to tackle and prevent scams and fraud.”
Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS and chair of the taskforce, said: “It is great to see so many individuals commit to this consumer initiative and adopt the charter to improve outcomes for clients in vulnerable circumstances, regardless of their identity, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, and pledging to guard against making assumptions about the characteristics of individuals.
“By committing to the charter these individuals and firms are accepting their heightened professional obligations towards clients in vulnerable circumstances and consciously taking action to address the need for raised awareness and greater sensitivity.”
Financial advisers who sign-up to the charter are expected to promote their commitment to the pledges on their website via a digital badge, to list the core pledges and reference the consumer guide.
Supporters of the taskforce will have access to subject matter experts plus a resource library from the Personal Finance Society.
More information on the taskforce is available here: www.fvtaskforce.co.uk