On 6 June 2016, the Money Advice Trust (MAT) published its guidance, ‘Vulnerability: a guide for advice agencies – 12 steps for treating clients in vulnerable situations fairly’. The guidance builds upon the MAT’s 12-step guidance for creditors on vulnerability and aims to assist advice agencies in providing better support to their advisers in this area.

The need for advice agencies to improve the advice provided to vulnerable clients was highlighted by a recent survey carried out by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. The survey looked at the experiences of nearly one thousand clients and found that:

  • 40% of the clients had not been asked if they consented to the adviser recording details in relation to their mental health problems.
  • 41% of the clients stated that advisers did not ask questions about the effects of their mental problems on their financial situation.
  • 35% of the clients did not feel that their mental health problem had been taken into account, despite notifying the advice organisation of it.

The guide, which was written by vulnerability experts Chris Fitch and Colin Trend and funded by the MAT, received the support of a number of organisations including, StepChange Debt Charity, the Money Advice Service, Advice UK and the Financial Ombudsman Service.