These materials are intended for use by Financial Advisers only

OneFamily Adviser

Hints & tips for moving to remote advice

As we adopt and modify our existing processes to overcome the current restrictions and social distancing rules and following insight from Advisers we have spoken with recently, it’s acknowledged that we must all consider the risks this brings to customers and our industry.

The core process which we are all used to is centred, at least partially, around face-to-face interactions with the customer from a valuation, the legal advice process and often, the initial suitability advice as well. However, in the current environment the entire transaction could be void of face-to-face interaction which brings additional risks and the need to enhance or change processes.  Although some of you may already be familiar and comfortable with online channels for delivering advice, it is worth noting as remote advice is significantly increasing whilst the country is in lockdown, there is now more of a need than ever to apply extra vigilance throughout the journey.

Below is not an exhaustive list but some thoughts on what you may need to consider as you navigate through the path from first enquiry to completion for yourself, your customers, their family members and your industry partners:

  1. Customer journey – Might be a little different to what customers would ordinarily expect, so positioning this at the outset will be helpful e.g. the process for receiving advice, applying/signing applications, valuations, independent legal advice and how family members will be engaged if the customer chooses for them to be.
  2. GDPR – if you usually work from a controlled office environment and are now working at home, it’s worth a self-reminder of the need to ensure GDPR compliance.
  3. Customer ID - you may need to find different ways of identifying your customers; you might consider methods such as recognised apps that provide confirmation of ID and permit this to be shared with all parties in the line, or, skype supported by receiving original/certified documents.
  4. Customer protection In terms of fraud, we have already seen in the press, scammers and fraudsters cashing in on the pandemic situation. In addition to falling victim to scams, customers may also be at higher risk of being coerced in times where there is less, or no face to face interaction combined with potentially additional financial strain. Asking more probing questions and having deeper discussions can tease out indicators of risk e.g.:
  • is the customers’ language consistent with someone of that age group?
  • are they being inconsistent or vague with their personal details?
  • are they unsure of plans for the funds or unable to coherently explain their plans?
  • is there frustration with probing questions?
  • does one party appear dis-engaged, allowing the other to take the lead or, is a third party controlling the conversation?

Extra vigilance is vital so to support you and your customers, OneFamily will also be applying further rigour over all applications.

  1. Delivering advice - enhancing your process to ensure that, where advice is carried out over the telephone, both parties have received and understood the advice you’ve given e.g. both parties are on the call together, or separately, with deeper discussion around their plans and regular engagement and confirmation of understanding from both individuals.
  2. Government support – where appropriate, adding consideration to government support that customers might be entitled to during the pandemic. Our own Foundation team have created a 'Temporary Hardship Grant’. Find out more details and the qualifying criteria.
  3. Vulnerability - where advice is delivered solely by telephone and, particularly where all aspects of the process are non-face to face, customer vulnerabilities may not be identified easily e.g. customers being coerced or acting under duress or, vulnerabilities linked to health including mental capacity. Deeper conversations and the strengthening of controls will support you, protecting our customers.

We're here to help:

Our dedicated team of Telephone Account Managers, our Mortgage Processing team and specialist Underwriters are all safely working at home and continue to provide you with all the support you need. So please get in touch.

Contact us