- Vulnerability may be more common than you think
- It’s time to break the stigma and get people talking
- We’re here to support you, whatever your circumstances
The term vulnerable probably brings to mind some fairly negative images, ones you may not associate with yourself, but in fact, it’s really common - 50% of UK adults display at least one characteristic of potential vulnerability1.a.
So, you may be wondering what we consider a vulnerable customer to be, if 50% of UK adults could fit the definition? The FCA defines a vulnerable customer as “someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.” 2.a Simply put, it is someone who may need a little support or guidance when making their financial decisions. This is why it’s important for us to know about any vulnerabilities our customers may have, so we can give them the right level of support for their circumstances.
What are the main drivers of vulnerability?
There are 4 main drivers of vulnerability, as defined by the FCA2.b but that doesn’t mean every circumstance will fall into one.
It was Gandhi who said, “it is health that is real wealth” and we completely agree. Health issues can impact all areas of your life, including your finances. A diagnosis or ongoing illness will not only impact the patient, but their family and friends, too. Health issues can not only directly affect personal finances, but also the ability to make rational decisions and plan for the future.
Mental health is a big consideration, too. In the UK, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year3. The type of problems and symptoms people experience can vary widely and often can have an impact on their personal finances and ability to make informed decisions.
Most of us have experienced ups and downs when it comes to finances; unexpected bills, a car breaking down or a leaky boiler is never going to improve your day! However, for a lot of people these issues can cause real financial problems.
Even those who have enough money set aside to cover an unexpected bill or boiler repair may not be able to cope if they lost their job or were put on reduced hours, as almost 14 million Britons experienced last year4.
If you’re reading this wondering how you’d cope if you had an unexpected bill or lost your job you’re not alone - around 30% of UK adults have low financial resilience5.
Around 19% of UK adults have experienced a major life event in the past 12 months1.b. Some of these people will have experienced wonderful life changing events like the birth of a new baby, but others will have experienced loss and separation. It can be difficult to predict how life events will impact you even if they are expected. It can be even more difficult to understand how they are affecting you once they’ve happened.
We don’t expect all of our customers to be tech-savvy experienced investors - many of our customers have different levels of capability. Some of them have low capability which may be due to experience, knowledge or a disability.
Why should I let you know?
We understand that there can be barriers to disclosing potential vulnerabilities, so below we explain why you should let us know, how we can help and what we do with the information.
We care about you
We value all of our customers, and we want to make sure we are acting in your best interests. We know that talking about some vulnerabilities is very difficult and deeply personal, but you will always have an empathetic support specialist on hand. Even if your vulnerability is only temporary, don’t feel like it’s a waste of time to talk to us – we care about our customers.
We’ll offer you the right support
Some of our customers have told us that they disclosed their vulnerability to other financial institutions, who didn’t even acknowledge it, never mind provide the support they needed. We’re different at evestor - we will offer you the support you need throughout your whole journey, from deciding whether we are right for you, through to using the system and understanding our documents. We’ll be on hand every step of the way, in a way that suits you – whether this is over the phone, on a webchat or on an email.
We won’t unfairly stop you from using our service
We were really disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised to read that “some consumers can find that they are inadvertently excluded from participating in financial services due to their particular characteristics”2.c. We don’t exclude customers due to vulnerabilities here at evestor, we treat all of our customers as individuals and we work with them to assess their own personal circumstances to determine whether investing is right for them.
We don’t tell other financial institutions
Some people are concerned that if they disclose a vulnerability it may affect their ability to get financial products in the future. At evestor, we only use the information you provide to us to help us determine how best to support you. We have no reason to share this information with any other financial service providers, so what you tell us stays with us.
You’ll get the advice that’s right for you
Whether you’re a new evestor customer or someone who has been investing with us for years, letting us know about a change in circumstances or a potential vulnerability will help us ensure the recommendation we give you is suitable. You don’t even have to wait for your annual review – let us know and we’ll reassess your suitability straight away, at no extra cost to you.
We won’t make you repeat yourself
You only have to disclose your circumstances once. We understand that some circumstances are really difficult to talk about, and that’s why you won’t have to repeat yourself if you speak to different support specialists and financial advisers.
What to do next
Whether you’re new to evestor or an existing customer, let us know if you think you have a vulnerability. If you’re not sure just speak to us. You can contact us via webchat, book an adviser call or email email@example.com
Even if you are not experiencing a vulnerability at this time, remember how important it is to tell us about any issues you may experience in the future.
Remember that we are here to help – not to discriminate or judge.