Financial Protection for Vulnerable Clients
Posted on 8th April 2020
We act for many vulnerable clients at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors. Our Court of Protection team look after the finances of many clients who are unable to manage their own money.
The Vulnerability Registration Service (RVS) is a system which has been set up to protect vulnerable consumers from financial exploitation and from getting into financial difficulties.
There are many vulnerable people living in the community. This includes people with memory problems, brain injury, learning disability, drink and drug problems and mental illness.
At HJA, we see many examples of attempts to take advantage of our vulnerable clients. This may be cold callers trying to sell risky investments or fraudsters operating financial scams. There are also numerous schemes for loans and credit where the company operates a hard sell policy and may persuade a vulnerable person to take out a loan at extortionate rates.
Not knowing that your customer is vulnerable can cause problems for financial institutions as well. How can they be sure that the customer has sufficient capacity to give instructions or sign a contract?
VRS is a very simple scheme whereby a central register is kept on a secure platform. There are a number of safeguards in place to ensure that personal data is protected. Organisations simply search against a name and are then told if the person is registered.
A vulnerable person can register themselves on the database. Financial institutions must check the database before entering into a binding legal relationship with any customer. Therefore, the financial institution will be on notice that the person is vulnerable and may not have capacity to make decisions in their own best interests.
Third parties can also register vulnerable customers. Where there is an attorney or deputy acting for the vulnerable person, they should definitely use this service if the client has a history of getting into debt or is at risk of financial abuse.
Names can be removed from the register at any time if circumstances change. The service is free for the individuals who are registered on the database. More details can be found on the Vulnerability Registration Service website.
The Court of Protection team at Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors are highly experienced in this specialist area of law and offer a personal and sympathetic service. We welcome instructions from families where a relative is likely to need help in the administration of their affairs and understand the extra sensitivity and communication skills needed when acting for vulnerable clients. To talk to one of our team today, call us on 0808 231 6369 or contact us online.