The long-term success of your business depends on the quality of your advice. After all, doing right by your clients is what drives lasting relationships and repeat business — all while keeping the regulator happy.
And yet time and again we see practices that result in poor outcomes and, ultimately, cause harm. Most recently it was defined benefit transfers, and now the FCA has sounded the warning bell on the equity release market.
The FCA’s recent multi-firm review found that the lack of relevant Know Your Customer information, insufficiently tailored advice and an inability to evidence suitability are the offending practices once again. And given the increased likelihood of vulnerability for customers in this market, the FCA made it clear that where advice isn’t good enough, it won’t hesitate to take action.
It’s a story we’ve heard before and, over the years, we’ve helped many firms to improve standards in this area. Because ultimately, when suitable advice is given, equity release can be an excellent product to enhance a customer’s lifestyle.
The Covid-19 crisis has drastically changed the financial plans of millions of people. So inevitably, demand for equity release will be at all-time high. Here are some ways that you can improve processes and evidence suitable advice.
Look beyond the Fact Find
Knowing your customer is not just about gathering information on a Fact Find. That information needs to be analysed to truly understand your customer’s circumstances. Only then will you be in a position to provide suitable advice.
For example, if a customer wants to take out equity release but also has significant savings, you should be questioning why those savings can’t be used to supplement their income instead.