UK Finance has today launched a new voluntary code of practice for financial services to better understand financial abuse, and help those who have suffered from it.
The Financial Abuse Code of Practice, which was put together with recommendations from charities, support groups and the Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce, sets out six key principles for financial services businesses to meet.
These are to raise awareness within firms and train employees; become skilled in the appropriate responses to people disclosing financial abuse; reduce the need for someone to have to repeat their story of abuse to other people within the firm; help people regain control of their finances; and know how and when to make referrals to other relevant bodies (such as a lawyer).
Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, director of Surviving Economic Abuse, said: ‘Through this code, UK Finance has created a powerful “invitation to tell”, which, combined with the training proposal, means responses to customers should be more informed and consistent. It is a great first step and we look forward to seeing advancement of knowledge and protocol within financial institutions across the country.’
Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, added: ‘Financial abuse does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone. The financial services industry can play a key role in helping combat financial abuse, offering support to victims to help them regain control of their money.’
Although initially targeting banks and building societies, there is no reason the code should not be considered by advice firms. In July this year Equanimity IFA director Helen Howcroft told New Model Adviser® about the clients she has seen who have suffered from financial abuse, and the protocols she has in place to service such clients. You can read that piece here.