Protecting our Vulnerable Clients
As an Equity Release company we often get asked the steps that we take to ensure our Vulnerable Clients are well looked after.
As a Directly Authorised Company we of course follow the necessary compliance procedures and have the correct policies in place. However, Stuart was recently asked by a colleague in the Industry what steps we take to ensure we are looking after our vulnerable clients from day one!
This got us thinking about what we actually do, that perhaps isn’t part of our policies and procedures and things we do just because, well , we care!!
1) Send potential clients our videos about Equity Release to view as well as our large print brochures. We want our clients to have a level of understanding of Equity Release before we meet them. This can make them feel less nervous about talking about an unfamiliar topic.
2) Ask potential clients to read our reviews and look us up on the Equity Release Council’s website before we meet. Our 5/5 rating can give the client confidence of our excellent service.
2) We will arrange to visit clients in their home if they prefer, to make them feel comfortable. These visits often can give signs if a client is potentially vulnerable.
3) Invite them to have a friend or family member present at all meetings. A good support network is really important for vulnerable clients. Family especially ask some great, tough questions about ER that we are more than happy to answer.
4) Take our Equity Release Council membership card to appointments so they know they are dealing with who they were expecting. This is particularly important when visiting retired or elderly clients in their home as they may be nervous.
5) We usually like to have two or three meetings to ensure all questions are answered, and there is no pressure for the client to take an ER mortgage.
6) Complete a full detailed Fact Find every time so we have found out all about the client so the advice is correct.
7) Wait for the client to contact us after the first meeting so they are ready to meet again, not when we are ready.
8) Write a detailed report on what we have established about the clients circumstances and why we have given certain advice.
9) Ensure they have an ER solicitor representing them. This solicitor will ask the client a series of questions about their understanding of what they are taking out. Completion isn’t allowed until the solicitor agrees and signs a certificate to verify this. This is a key part of recognising a clients Vulnerable status as the Solicitor will also check the client has mental capacity and is fully sure of their decision.
10) Liaising with any family member the client has given permission for us to. We can then explain how we have safeguarded and advised their relative throughout the ER process.