MorganAsh, a leading provider of support services to the financial industry, has launched a revolutionary consumer vulnerability assessment tool.
By providing an objective “resilience score” similar to a credit score, the new tool greatly facilitates the assessment of consumer vulnerability.
Called The MorganAsh Resilience System (MARS), the new tool is designed to help mortgage advisers and businesses meet Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requirements for understanding and managing consumer vulnerability. The FCA’s ‘Guidance for businesses on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers’ came into force in February 2021 and will be reinforced by the document ‘A new Consumer Duty’, currently in consultation.
MARS is the very first system providing this type of easy to understand notation. Although the scoring system is simple, it is based on very sophisticated data. As a result, he was adopted immediately by St James’ Place (SJP). SJP also provides partners with access to MARS to help them identify and better support customer financial vulnerability.
The MorganAsh Resilience System provides an objective measurement rating like the familiar credit score used by lenders across the UK. MARS gathers information from consumers and their advisors, to calculate a comprehensive “resilience score”. This provides a simple, objective, and consistent way to manage consumer vulnerability.
Focused on resilience
Aware of the potential stigma of an individual if labeled as vulnerable, MARS instead focuses on strengths – a person’s resilience. The highly secure system provides simple assessments that reflect every aspect of a person’s vulnerability or resilience, including health, wealth, and life events.
The level of detail collected is tailored to both the stage of engagement and the potential for consumer harm. For example, when a customer inquires about a “low risk” product, such as life insurance, the level of detail required by MARS is minimal and can be provided by the consumer or his advisor. But for a high-risk or high-value product, like mortgages and end-of-life loans, a more diligent set of information would be used – with independent verification of that information.
Mortgage and financial advisors can enter a client’s vulnerability information themselves. Alternatively, they can ask their customer to complete an online questionnaire or, if the consumer is suspected of being vulnerable, can book an assessment of their customer to be carried out by a MorganAsh nurse.
Fintech guided by FCA requirements
The FCA is keen for companies to use processes to support vulnerable consumers and enable them to disclose their needs. MARS therefore provides a solid and rigorous framework for advisors to achieve this.
The system can be used as a standalone tool or integrated with a company’s CRM via secure API links. MARS is already integrated with Intelliflo and Iress systems, and further integrations are planned.
MARS is vendor and product independent and can be used by anyone in financial services, for any product or service. It is an objective measure that provides consistent and essential evidence of regulatory stringency to compliance teams and the FCA.
Andrew Gething, Managing Director of MorganAsh, said: “Just as a credit score is used to simply communicate wealth, MARS is used to communicate health and resilience. Using MARS, advisors and businesses can simply enter their client details, and the tool does the rest. This allows them to focus on what they do best: providing the best advice.
Robert Sinclair, Chief Executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says: “To meet the demands of vulnerability and looming consumer obligations, businesses must understand the characteristics of their customers – and be able to manage and report risk. driving. Company progress to date has largely been limited to subjective individual assessments which are likely to be inconsistent and complex to record. Moving to more structured assessments that can provide consistent and objective data will provide management information that companies can use. The resilience assessment in the MARS tool appears to be a positive first step. »
Keith Richards, Chair of the Financial Vulnerability Task Force, said: “Given the often complex and technical nature of financial planning – which automatically places most people in a position of vulnerability due to knowledge and experience – we must do what we can, at every opportunity, to demonstrate and be seen as a trusted “pair of safe hands. The current regulatory focus on vulnerability provides a timely opportunity to improve how we can recognize and address vulnerable circumstances, while exercising individual care and empathy Good practice principles and the use of fintech, such as the MorganAsh MARS tool, can greatly improve our ability to assess, store and communicate vulnerability across and between organizations.