Equity release advisory firm Key has trained all its advisers on dealing with dementia in its aim to support vulnerable customers.
The firm’s advisers and other customer-facing staff have undertaken training on how to communicate with someone with dementia through the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘Dementia Friends’ programme.
The charity’s programme provides training on how dementia affects individuals and actions that can be taken to support people living with the condition.
The firm’s advisers, including those at Key Equity Release, The Equity Release Experts and Mortgage Advice Bureau Later Life, have undergone training, as well as head office staff who interact with customers daily.
Rachel East, head of advice (central) at Key, said: “Recognising and understanding a customer’s potential vulnerability is a daily part of an adviser's role.
“One in 14 people in the UK over the age of 65 are diagnosed with dementia so our customer demographic means that it is entirely possible if not probable that some of our customers are dealing with this illness.
“Taking simple steps to support them can help ensure good outcomes which is why training our customer facing teams to recognise and understand the best ways to communicate with someone with dementia is so important.”
Will Hale, chief executive officer at Key, added: “I was delighted to not only ensure that all our customer facing teams were trained but also to get trained myself so I understand the challenges people living with dementia face and be better informed when considering how we might best adapt processes and procedures to ensure good outcomes.
“I would like to thank the Alzheimer's Society for their thorough and informative Dementia Friends course and recommend that all financial services organisations, particularly those dealing with older customers, consider how they might incorporate within their own training plans.”
A February poll of CII and PFS members found almost a third of respondents identified being able to assess cognition as the biggest barrier to assisting clients in vulnerable circumstances, while one in 10 financial advisers said they struggled to identify vulnerability.
It comes after the Financial Conduct Authority warned in February that firms could expect to be asked to demonstrate how their business model, actions and culture ensured the fair treatment of all customers, including those deemed vulnerable, on a regular basis.
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