Our Service Standards
How we work with people...
How we work
We have always prided ourselves on working with people in a very clear, simple and sensitive way, so that clients are listened to, priorities are understood and concerns addressed. This is the policy that we follow with all clients; regardless of personal, health, social and ethical beliefs.
However, we accept that for those clients who are vulnerable (in the widest context of the word) we need to be adaptable, flexible and provide these clients with additional information to demonstrate our commitment to them—so that they can access our services in exactly the same way as everyone else.
How does Brighter provide advice to clients?
To be able to understand how we will adapt our current practices to meet the needs of clients with additional needs it is worth outlining the steps in service delivery that we currently provide. These are as follows:
Becoming a Client
We introduce clients to our business and provide them with our Terms of Business document which sets out our approach to financial services, our charging structure and what will happen at each of the appointments with the adviser.
Getting to Know you
Financial advice cannot be given properly without a real understanding of who the client is, their situation and their personal and financial needs. Typically, we would ask clients to complete Fact Finds in which to collect this information and perhaps follow up with a call or on-line contact to gather further information.
We also need to know more about our clients and their understanding of investment risk. It is important that we have knowledge of this so that we can invest a client’s money in line with how much or how little risk they wish to take with their investments. We usually ask client to complete an on-line questionnaire in order to gather this information
Reviewing your Goals
Once we have all the information we need we can begin to establish the right financial plan for the client. This will include looking at all
existing plans and making sure they reach your objectives and, if they don’t, discussing new ones with them.
Typically, we will have two meetings with clients where we discuss our findings and ensure that our recommendations are easily understood and applicable to the client’s needs.
Once all information has been provided, the client may either choose to accept the adviser’s recommendations or keep their financial
situation as it is. It is for the client to choose.
Making a Financial Plan
A “Brighter plan” is created for all clients who wish to move ahead with the adviser’s recommendations. The plan will set out the client’s current financial position and how the adviser intends to improve it, either
through the choice of a better performing product, a consolidation of pensions to reduce administration charges or simply to assist with the right investment from scratch. Whatever the client’s needs the plan will set out to describe a solution to those needs and objectives, based on the client’s life situation and finances.
For some people just having these 4 clear steps to our process helps them to understand and engage with the financial adviser in the development of their financial plan. However, there are also many situations where clients may require additional support.
We understand that our clients may require additional support when certain behaviours or visual signs are apparent. The list below gives examples but is not conclusive as to what signs may require further information:
Visual or hearing
Supporting our clients
We have clear processes in place to help support our clients in difficult circumstances.
We will listen
We are thankful to our clients for being confident enough to share personal information with us and will make sure that we listen and understand their situation in depth so that we can help them in the best way.
We will explain
Clients who provide us with sensitive information about their personal, health or financial circumstances will always be advised how we intend to use that information and how it will be stored after financial advice has been provided. Clients will be able to change the information we hold on them and request to see it. We have made all this easy through the facilities we provide in our client portal.
We will gain your explicit consent
We will not use client information in any way, without explicit consent from them.
We will ask relevant questions
We will make sure you are comfortable to share sensitive information with us and will only ask questions that are relevant to us being able to help you completely with your financial arrangements.
We will make sure that if you need support to be able to talk to us about your finances or if you need someone to help you manage your finances that we ensure that we help you get this into place.
We will sign-post to relevant support
If we believe that you require external support with any of your issues, we may ask you if your GP is involved with your care or advise you on external help lines such as a debt advice agency. We may feel that until you have received such support it would be inappropriate for us to provide advice, so may guide you in receiving support first.
What we will do for clients with additional needs
As-well as listening and understanding our clients’ needs there are also things that we, as a business, will do to make sure you are supported properly:
For clients with physical health issues
We are unable to provide separate disabled access for our clients; but believe that our ground floor entrance and meeting room facilities would assist those with
physical health issues to meet us face to face, if they so wish. In the event that we cannot see clients face to face at our premises we will arrange to meet them at home, or online, depending on the client’s preference.
For clients with mental health issues
We do not automatically determine that a client requires additional support with their financial understanding, if they have a mental health issue, but where medication or the condition itself appears to result in the client having:
- Reduced concentration
- Agitation, anxiety and
distress when discussing
- An unwillingness to work
productively with the
We may request that the client seeks trusted support to help them when meeting with the adviser so that a second person is present to hear the discussions surrounding financial advice and to help the client provide us with the information that we need to carry out the “Getting to Know you” phase of the financial advice process.
For clients old or young with potential decreased cognitive function
Age is not necessarily an indication of vulnerability but our advisers will assess whether clients who approach us, being young or old, are able to understand the financial process presented to them. Some areas of financial advice can be complex and these clients may benefit having a family member or trusted friend in on the meeting, to help with understanding.
For clients who have had a change in circumstances
Environmental or economic situations could result in a client having a change in circumstances and our advisers are sensitive to these situations. Such situations can be stressful and upsetting for clients and we are happy to manage these according to need with a second person present, if needs be for the “Getting to Know you” stage in the process.
For clients who have a visual or hearing impairment
When we carry out the phases of the financial services process we will make sure that you are provided with information in a larger font, if you have problems with your eyesight and that there is the right environment created for you so that you can clearly hear the advice that we provide to you. We will make sure that particularly at the “Your Plan” stage that you fully understand what recommendations have been discussed and agreed upon.
For clients who do not have English as their first language
Wherever a client requires financial advice but has difficulty understanding the process or terminology we will make sure that we are as simple in our descriptions as we possibly can be and will support the client in seeking out translation services/an interpreter where necessary.