Consumer duty is edging closer. Do you feel ready to operate within the new framework?

Hopefully, it hasn't required a major operational overhaul for your business, but you'll still need to show what you're doing to deliver good outcomes for your customers in the 4 key areas set out by the FCA.

Here's where your adviser software can help. Xplan provides much of the tools and functionality you need to take the stress, worry and hassle out of Consumer Duty.

Let's take a look at each outcome and understand exactly how Xplan can help. (If you already use Xplan, you can get extra information and support on the Iress Community)

1. Products and services

What you need to be able to demonstrate:

"The products and services you recommend are fit for purpose and designed to meet consumers’ needs. “We want them to be designed to meet the needs, characteristics and objectives of a target group of customers and distributed appropriately” the FCA has outlined. Essentially, your advice propositions must be appropriate for the market segment of each client."

How Xplan can help:

  • Segment clients: Xplan’s core CRM system enables you to segment and categorise your clients based on criteria that you define as appropriate for your proposition, such as investable assets or advice need.
  • Record proposition: You can record the delivered service proposition against each client, based on the segment you have assigned.
  • Service benchmarks: You can set and record service benchmarks to ensure the service you are delivering is in line with the agreed levels set out with the client.
  • Annual review workflow: An annual review workflow can trigger alerts and tasks to ensure that you and your team are demonstrating ongoing suitability of the assigned service proposition in the form of an annual review.
  • MI reporting: You can easily run and export reports on your clients by segment, annual review status, or any other data on the client record.

2. Price and value

What you need to be able to demonstrate:

"The price of a product or service reflects fair value for the benefits received by the consumer. As an adviser, this means you must first demonstrate the value of your initial and ongoing advice fees. And secondly, you must show a cost and benefit assessment for new products and switching recommendations."

How Xplan can help:

You can access a range of our sourcing and planning tools through Xplan to help with this outcome.

  • The Exchange: The Exchange is the UK’s largest adviser marketplace for life, pension and investment products. By sourcing marketwide quotes for your clients, you can prove you are doing due diligence and recommending the best price and value for money. We have recently added feature comparison for life and critical illness cover, enabling better value-led conversations.
  • Xplan Mortgage: Similarly, an integration with Xplan Mortgage offers advisers access to an extensive range of current mortgage products and rates, with clear information on the features and costs of each product. Again, this helps you prove you are offering the best possible prices and value for your clients
  • Profiler: Packed with tools designed to illustrate cost and benefits associated with different investment and pension products, Profiler is extremely useful when it comes to demonstrating price and value, and ensuring your client is getting the best outcome possible.
  • Xplan Cashflow Tools: Xplan’s intuitive cashflow planning tools help you deliver tangible value by helping your clients plan and visualise their financial future. This powerful outcome will clearly demonstrate value and help you to provide the reassurance that has prompted many clients to seek your advice in the first place.
  • Time tracking: Xplan also offers tools to help you track and record the time you are spending on each client or client segment, helping you further demonstrate the value your clients are receiving from you. You can also report on this data.

3. Consumer understanding

What you need to be able to demonstrate:

"Consumers are given understandable, timely information that helps them to make effective, informed decisions. For an advice business, this means taking steps to ensure your communications are clear and delivered on time, with ample time for the client to process the information. You should also make sure you are demonstrating your clients have understood any information delivered in client meetings."

How Xplan can help:

  • Client portal: Xplan’s client portal enables you to securely communicate and share financial information, plans and documents with your clients. This information is available 24/7 by the client and the information is easy to understand, aided by its engaging portfolio reporting and cashflow planning tools. You can monitor if and when information has been viewed by the client, for your compliance records.
  • Meeting notes and case files: Xplan’s core CRM contains all the essential functionality you need to record conversations, notes and documents against the client record, helping to keep a record of the client’s understanding in all meetings.

4. Consumer support

What you need to be able to demonstrate:

"A level of support that meets the reasonable needs and expectations of consumers through the lifecycle of a product or service. This support extends to existing clients as well as new clients and requires businesses to remove any “sludge practices” that impede a client’s ability to access support easily - such as cancellation requests or making a complaint."

How Xplan can help:

  • Record support: Xplan’s CRM is a great tool for recording information and supporting documents against a client’s record, which means you have a full compliance trail that demonstrates exactly how you have met clients’ support needs, including vulnerable clients.
  • Complaint handling: Complaints can be fully recorded and managed in Xplan, with workflows that can guide staff through all of your complaint process steps, while a full audit trail is captured along the way.

As you can see, Xplan is full of useful tools and functionality to help you with Consumer Duty and make light work of all the obligations and admin that come with an advice service, so you can do more of what makes you brilliant.

If you already use Xplan, check the Community for more information on each of these features.

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