Key and MorganAsh team up on pilot vulnerability scheme

Both firms have been working together since last year to test and refine the resilience system

Key and MorganAsh team up on pilot vulnerability scheme

Equity release adviser Key has agreed to work collaboratively with MorganAsh on a pilot scheme to use its new adviser tool to help later life lending advisers in identifying, assessing, and managing client vulnerability.

The MorganAsh Resilience System (MARS) was launched in April, but the support services provider had been working with Key since last year to test and refine the interaction with consumers, and customising results specifically for older borrowers in need of later life lending.

MorganAsh said MARS provides a simple, objective ‘Resilience Rating’ similar to a credit score. It has been designed to provide a more consistent approach to managing client vulnerability and makes evaluating consumer vulnerability easier and more consistent. The system and its rating methodology enables lenders, and particularly advice firms, to provide more robust solutions based on a personalised understanding of individual client circumstances.

Although a consistent approach exists for the assessment of credit risk via credit scoring, MorganAsh added that prior to the launch of MARS, there had been no equivalent methodology within the lending market to assess vulnerability risk.

Read more: CEOs call for mortgage industry to work together on vulnerability

Both Key and MorganAsh believe that having a more consistent method of assessing customer characteristics and vulnerability will enable a more robust understanding of need, and therefore, deliver a better customer outcome. It should also ensure that conduct risk is better understood within the advice and product servicing process.

“Everyone is vulnerable at some point whether due to their health, finances or life events and how this impacts them differs from person to person,” Will Hale, chief executive of Key, said. “To ensure that we are delivering the best possible outcomes for all customers, we need to move beyond simply identifying vulnerability and look at the more holistic concept of resilience and how support needs to be tailored according to individual circumstances.

“We are therefore delighted to be working with the new MorganAsh service which provides a simple, objective and consistent way of better understanding an individual’s vulnerability via a ‘resilience rating’. 

“At Key, we are committed to helping customers achieve the best possible outcomes and as part of this, we are exploring this pilot with MorganAsh. The industry needs more initiatives like this, and we would like to add our voices to those of leading figures from organisations such as the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries and the Vulnerability Taskforce who welcome this as a step forward for the industry.”

Read more: Where to start on assessing vulnerability in the later life space

Andrew Gething (pictured), managing director at MorganAsh, noted that it is odd that there is a consistent method of assessing credit risk within the lending market, but there has been nothing to assess vulnerability risk previously.

“This represents a clear gap in a firm’s understanding and is almost guaranteed to lead to inconsistent outcomes,” Gething said. "Initial work on vulnerability has focused on training, but firms have quickly realised that to reach consistency in assessments the training overhead required is extensive and hence costly.

“The MARS tool greatly reduces the training and assessment burden from advisers so delivering vulnerability management efficiently.”

Gething added that when looking at vulnerability and resilience, older borrowers can be among the most vulnerable.

“Key is therefore leading the market in being the first equity release broker to adopt the MARS system,” he said. “The fact that they are also working with us to refine our system for later life lending shows how seriously they take providing best advice and finding the right solution. Ultimately, the more we all know about individual customers, the more certain we are that we can provide them with the right outcome.”