It aims to support ARs when advising customers
Mortgage and insurance network Stonebridge has introduced a new functionality to its Revolution system to help appointed representative (AR) firms and advisers identify and support customers in vulnerable circumstances.
Working as a series of prompts for advisers to follow, Revolution will now identify any indication of potential customer vulnerability through answers provided within the factfind. The system will ask advisers if they have considered the indicator of potential vulnerability, and they will need to record whether the customer’s circumstances make them more vulnerable to harm, along with the support provided.
Stonebridge said that this is a further deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) to support mortgage advisers, including prompts for the adviser completing the factfind, or the customer using Revolution’s client portal. It allows the customer to self-record any additional indication of vulnerability as a way to seek support.
The Financial Conduct Authority recently reported that 47% of UK adults showed one or more characteristics of vulnerability, up from 46% in February 2020, which equates to an increase of 0.9 million adults from 24 million to 24.9 million over the period. Stonebridge said this finding influenced its investment in the new technology.
To support this new tech advancement, Stonebridge has also provided all AR firms with step-by-step guidance and additional information on supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances through an enhanced vulnerable customer guide.
The network said the new functionality was the latest demonstration of Stonebridge’s ongoing multi-million-pound investment in its dedicated software platform for member firms.
Revolution’s in-house developers operate a multi-phase approach to system upgrades, with further developments due to be announced throughout the year.
“Following the publication of the FCA’s research highlighting the rise of UK adults showing one or more characteristics of vulnerability, we all have a duty to continue ensuring those in vulnerable circumstances receive an outcome that is just as good as those who aren’t,” Rob Clifford (pictured), chief executive at Stonebridge, commented. “The FCA has introduced specific policies to ensure supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances is a key theme of Consumer Duty, which we welcome.
“From the conversations we have had, we believe Stonebridge is the first network in the UK – after the publication of the final Consumer Duty rules – to launch such functionality to help our AR firms and individual advisers to deliver a positive outcome for them.
“This enhancement to Revolution is not just about delivering additional support and efficiency to our AR firms to be ready for the implementation of the Consumer Duty rules from July, but to also help keep customers front and centre of the advice process. It is evidence of our ongoing commitment to support those customers who are identified as being in vulnerable circumstances.”
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