Jason Ruse, business development director at Key Partnerships gives his views on intermediaries enhancing protection for older customers during the coronavirus crisis.
New research from Key Partnerships – the equity release referral service for specialist adviser Key – shows IFAs and brokers are reviewing or increasing the checks they make on older customers to ensure they are not vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.
The research undertaken on almost 250 brokers and IFAs who refer equity release customers to Key Partnerships found that while almost a third (29%) of companies were confident that their vulnerability policies were robust, some had decided to step them up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Checks increased amid a focus on vulnerability
Indeed, one in three mortgage intermediaries (34%) and wealth managers (33%) have reviewed or increased the checks they make on older customers to ensure they are not vulnerable.
The research also found one in four (26%) mortgage advisers and one in five wealth managers (22%) are treating all customers during the coronavirus crisis as potentially vulnerable. In addition, one in ten (11%) of those surveyed said that people who wanted to use equity release for ‘immediate needs’ during the crisis were under pressure and more likely to be vulnerable [see notes to editors for table of research].
Key Partnerships research found the advice industry has adapted well and will continue to adapt after the immediate crisis is over and may they face increased interest from customers.
Increased interest from customers keen to find out more
Ruse said: “Advisers have proved to be resilient and adaptable throughout the crisis despite the challenges of changing working practices and the financial impact on businesses. Vulnerability was a hot topic before the crisis hit and it is good to see that this remains at the forefront of people’s minds and we reviewed our vulnerability policy for added due diligence in the current times.
“While not all older customers are vulnerable, they are an age group which is more likely to be vulnerable and self-isolation as well as the impact of the coronavirus on pensions and savings is likely to have seen more people considering their options.
“The focus on ensuring vulnerability is addressed is particularly important and the numbers of firms which have taken action or reviewed practices to ensure they are supporting clients underlines how important the issue is.”