Supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances

According to on-going research completed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, firms have been dealing with an increasing range of vulnerable circumstances that affect their customers, ranging from serious illnesses, mental health, addictions and suicide. The research shows that some customers chose not to make a disclosure and some organisations where not uniform in their approach to recording and acting on disclosures.

This would suggest that whilst regulated firms reviewed their current practices and procedures in light of the 12 steps for treating potentially vulnerable customers fairly and the FCA’s TCF principles, many regulated firms need to utilise training to embed right behaviours in their staff to ensure customers are being fully supported and mutually beneficial outcomes are reached.

In response to this need, The Money Advice Trust, who work exclusively with Chris Fitch and Colin Trend, key contributors to the BBA 2016 report on ‘Improving outcomes for customers in vulnerable circumstances’  have developed a one day interactive training workshop to improve you and your colleagues knowledge, skills, and confidence of working with customers who may be vulnerable.

Why should you attend?

  • You will enhance your reputation as a responsible firm that treats customers fairly with a focus on lending and debt collection
  • You will gain the skills, tools and confidence to handle customers in vulnerable circumstances fairly and consistently
  • You will improve broken repayment arrangements, minimise the likelihood of additional financial costs, and, minimise a worsening of the customer’s mental health
  • You will help meet your legal responsibilities under the Mental Capacity Act, Data Protection Act, and your wider regulatory requirements


Who will benefit

This workshop is suitable for a firm’s vulnerability policy owner, vulnerability champions, business operations staff and compliance team and those individuals within the firm who are responsible for:

  • Defining and overseeing the firms vulnerability policy
  • Identifying vulnerability and dealing with issues appropriately
  • Embedding good practice within the business areas
  • Dealing with specific business activities relevant to vulnerability
  • Ensuring the firm’s policy and approach is delivering fair customer outcomes

What will you learn?

  • The key factors that may impact on vulnerability, and, categories of vulnerability
  • The Statutory principles under the Mental Capacity Act, including which individuals may act in  a legal capacity for the debtor
  • The five components of the TEXAS acronym – a tool for dealing with vulnerability factors
  • The four points of the Compass technique – a tool for understanding the significance of the vulnerability presented
  • Different pathways for debtors to obtain free, independent, financial advice

Programme details:

Registration: 09:00 am
Start: 09:30 am
Close: 17:00 pm

Trainers use a blend of presentational methods in order to assist in a delegate’s understanding of the workshop content; where applicable and possible, the workshop is enhanced through the use of group exercises, role play, and case studies.

Colin Trend

Colin has a wealth of experience in the finance and debt sector; from private, public and voluntary sector roles. Working alongside Chris Fitch, they developed the industry standard tools TEXAS and Compass which are used in a number of different sectors to help customers in vulnerable circumstances.


Currently, Colin heads-up Plymouth Focus Advice Centre, an independent advice centre, that he established in 2003.  The advice centre has a focus on clients who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.  He is also a trustee of the British Gas Energy Trust, seeking to alleviate the effects of fuel poverty.


Colin is the lead tutor with the Money Advice Trust on their Vulnerability Programme, assisting both in the UK and overseas. He has assisted the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) for a decade with their work on the ‘Good Practice Awareness Guidelines’ in mental health, the ‘Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form’ and the associated work on the ‘MALG Briefing Note 4’ with regards to data protection issues.


In addition, Colin has collaborated with Chris Fitch on a number of publications, the most prominent being ‘Lending, debt collection and mental health: 12 steps for treating potentially vulnerable customers fairly’ and the advice sector equivalent in 2016, ‘Vulnerability: a guide for advice agencies, 12 steps for treating clients in vulnerable situations fairly’. Colin is currently working with Chris Fitch on the updated version of the 12 steps due to be published soon.

Take this workshop in-house.  If you have five or more delegates who wish to attend this course, it may be more cost effective to run it in-house. To find out more about in-house training, please contact Philip Allen Director of Learning on 0207 216 8843 or

Vulnerabilities e-learning recommend pre-requisite (included in workshop cost)

The e-learning pre-requisite provides an introduction to the concept of vulnerability and explains steps to identifying and supporting vulnerable customers. You’ll also cover potential barriers for vulnerable customers, making a disclosure and ways to overcome these, and recognise relevant legislation and the role of the FCA.

The key areas covered are:

  • Understanding vulnerability
  • Encouraging disclosure
  • Identifying and supporting vulnerable customers
  • Handling complex situations
  • Handling disclosure