St James’s Place has introduced tools for its partners to help them identify and better support financial vulnerability among clients.
The tools, from Comentis and MorganAsh, are designed to assess a client’s level of vulnerability as well as how to deal with it.
Last year, the Financial Conduct Authority’s financial lives survey revealed that the coronavirus pandemic propelled the number of vulnerable adults in the UK to almost 28m.
SJP said with so many UK adults estimated to be at risk, it has given access to Comentis’ technology to enable partners to proactively identify financially vulnerable clients through a clinically developed online assessment process.
The assessment provides a report determining the nature of any vulnerability, what it means, and what to do, which can be stored to create an audit record of vulnerabilities and actions taken.
The firm has worked with Comentis over the past year to run trials and provide feedback on the tool, which has been created by leaders in the fields of mental health and capacity, financial vulnerability assessments and psychology.
Jonathan Barrett, chief executive of Comentis, said: “At a time of mounting regulatory pressure and increasing customer vulnerability, deploying tech powered solutions that will better support firms such as SJP in the identification and triaging of vulnerable clients has never been more paramount.
“Our clinical and digital-based solution allows us to deliver a vital solution for advisers in the identification and support of their vulnerable clients. It is great to be aiding SJP in their efforts towards supporting vulnerable clients.”
Partners now also have access to the MorganAsh Resilience System (MARS), a secure platform that uses answers from client consultations to calculate an objective rating on the degrees of vulnerability for each client and provide recommendations on next steps.
MARS supports advisers when conducting mental health assessments, introducing clients to the concept of power of attorney, in bereavement counselling, providing tailored longevity estimates to inform retirement planning, and when assisting customers in sourcing care for later life.
Andrew Gething, managing director of MorganAsh, said: “Increasing regulatory pressure from the FCA to ensure vulnerable clients are treated fairly means it is more important than ever for financial advisers to have the capabilities to fully understand and support their customers.
“MARS provides advisers with a range of consistent and comprehensive services that align with FCA regulations to help support vulnerable customers. We are delighted to be partnering with SJP.”
SJP said these technologies will help advisers to take a more consistent, objective, and proactive approach to their support.
Edward Grant, director, technical connection at SJP, added: “Supporting clients in vulnerable circumstances is hugely important so we are thrilled to be able to provide our partners with two ground-breaking technologies that quickly spot signs of financial vulnerability which will ensure our clients receive the best possible support.