Bright Future Financial adopts Financial Vulnerability Charter

Friday 8th April 2022

Bright Future Financial is pleased to announce its commitment to the Financial Vulnerability Charter to help promote the fair treatment of clients who may find themselves in a vulnerable situation. The Financial Vulnerability Taskforce is a newly created independent representative body covering the Personal Finance Sector. Its ultimate purpose is to promote greater understanding, encourage appropriate behaviours and establish good practice in respect of consumer vulnerability.

We are committed to abide by the nine commitments of the charter as outlined in the consumer guide:

  • Making advice easier to understand
  • Placing your interests above all else
  • Understanding how your circumstances might make you vulnerable
  • Not making assumptions about you
  • Not labelling you
  • Dealing with you sensitively
  • Adapting processes and maintaining your confidentiality
  • Ensuring staff are knowledgeable and appropriately trained
  • Taking appropriate action if you are in harm’s way

David Boyce, principal adviser at Bright Future Financial commented: “As a responsible Independent Financial Adviser, our clients can trust us to incorporate the nine principals of the Financial Vulnerability Charter into the way we operate. This approach makes us ‘a safe pair of hands’ when it comes to managing your finances.

“Vulnerability is something that can affect us all; through unexpected events such as illness, loss of employment, divorce or even the sudden acquisition of wealth through inheritance.  But when it happens, you can be assured we will fully support you. We are committed to ensuring all our clients receive the very best advice from us, no matter what their circumstances. By committing to the charter we're accepting heightened professional obligations towards clients in vulnerable circumstances.”

The 9 Commitments of the Financial Vulnerability Charter in Detail

ONE: Act as a safe pair of hands.
We acknowledge that as our services often involve the application of specialist and technical financial knowledge, this places many clients in a position of dependency and as such imposes upon us a greater moral duty to act in their best interests and as a ‘safe pair of hands’, especially to those who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.

TWO: Hold our clients’ interests above our commercial interests.
We accept that our professional obligation to use ‘best endeavours’ and place our clients’ interests above our commercial interests have a greater significance to clients who are in vulnerable circumstances and, therefore, at greater risk of detriment.

THREE: Recognise vulnerability.
We recognise that vulnerability can manifest itself in either physical, mental or emotional form (knowingly or otherwise), is dynamic in nature (short-lived or longer-term, sometimes permanent, transient, recurring or fluctuating over time) and may be hidden.

FOUR: Avoid client assumptions.
When working with clients who seek to access our services, we treat all fairly, regardless of their identity, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, and guard against making assumptions about individuals.

FIVE: Believe that language and terminology is important.
We believe that language and terminology is important. Vulnerability relates to circumstances and not a category of person. As such, descriptions such as ‘those in vulnerable circumstances’ should be used at all times instead of ‘vulnerable individuals’, except when only referring to individuals or groups of individuals where vulnerability is permanent.

SIX: Behave with sensitivity.
We recognise that people in vulnerable circumstances are often unaware of their vulnerability and, if they are aware, might not acknowledge it nor wish to be described as vulnerable. We, therefore, accept our heightened professional obligations towards clients in vulnerable circumstances; and the need for raised awareness, greater sensitivity, and additional technical competencies.

SEVEN: Maintain confidentiality.
We seek to recognise clients in vulnerable circumstances and encourage all to self-declare if appropriate, safe in the knowledge that we will:

adapt our business processes and professional services, so our clients do not suffer detriment at any point as we seek to deliver outcomes at least as good as for those who are not in vulnerable circumstances.

maintain confidentiality and ensure our behaviours are fully compliant with all relevant legislation including The Equality Act (2010), Consumer Protection regulations, The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and data protection including GDPR.

We see the application of the above as ‘business as usual’, part of our raison d’être and not part of separate compliance or ‘stand-alone’ exercises.

EIGHT: Ensure staff are knowledgeable and appropriately trained.
We seek to enable all members of our organisations to deal compassionately, empathetically and effectively with those in vulnerable circumstances by raising awareness of vulnerability and by providing training to all within our organisation in the appropriate methods of engagement and the effective discharge of our professional services.

NINE: Offer immediate support.
When we encounter clients in vulnerable circumstances and recognise that they may be in immediate danger of significant abuse or harm, or may need immediate support, we will take action to contact the appropriate authorities to mitigate the risks they face.