30 March 2023

Helping those in vulnerable circumstances – walking the walk

Following Carbon’s commitment to The Financial Vulnerability Taskforce (FVT) Charter (blog here), we wanted to share more on what this involves.

The aim of the FVT is to promote understanding, the right behaviours and good practice when dealing with vulnerability. The Charter itself is a set of independent standards, that firms can align themselves with to demonstrate their work and service in this area.

For context, in May 2022, 47% of UK adults showed one or more characteristics of vulnerability, up from 46% in February 2020. This equates to an increase of 0.9 million adults from 24.0 million to 24.9 million over that period (FCA Financial Lives Survey 2022).

The Charter consists of nine core statements, designed to cover all aspects of dealing with clients in vulnerable circumstances. More information can be found here - The Charter | Financial Vulnerability Taskforce (

It is important to walk the walk, rather than simply talk the talk, so we wanted to share some examples of Carbon embracing our values and mindfully serving clients in vulnerable circumstances:

  • Communicating through a range of face-to-face meetings, video calls, phone conversations and emails allows our team to adapt to the method most suited for that client.
  • Staying vigilant, monitoring the demeanour of our clients and any potential warning signs that may suggest a long term or temporary vulnerability. A change in a client’s demeanour or outlook may suggest stress in response to a life event, an out of character request or transaction may indicate a possible scam/fraud and small signs such as a reduction in the legibility of a clients handwriting may suggest a longer-term illness.
  • Using lifetime cashflow to measure the impact of life events that a client may be experiencing such as personal loss, divorce or to show the impact of care fees in later life.
  • Scheduling meetings flexibly around a client’s circumstances, whether that be medical treatment appointments or simply the time of the day which suits them best.
  • Visiting less-mobile clients at their home to save them travelling.
  • Use of accessible meeting rooms that, for instance, don’t involve climbing stairs.
  • Explaining advice verbally or in larger print if clients are unable to read due to deteriorating vision.
  • Engaging Power of Attorneys and relatives to ensure continuity and that our clients remain comfortable and well supported when discussing their finances. This can involve facilitating attendance at meetings and sharing copies of advice reports. We will also work alongside other professional advisers if beneficial.
  • When providing recommendations, taking extra care and time to ensure our clients understand the options and our advice. This enables them to make an informed decision at a pace that suits them. This is particularly important for a client going through a temporary vulnerable situation such as death of a family member or divorce. Where relevant, we will revisit our advice if the client’s circumstances change.
  • Where appropriate, directing clients to helpful, reputable, third-party support.

It is a natural fit for the team at Carbon to commit to these standards and we continue to invest in our team and processes to deliver the best outcomes for all our clients. Living by our values allows us to always put the client first and the extra steps we take for our more vulnerable clients is simply an extension to these core values.

If you or someone you know may be in vulnerable circumstances and would benefit from help with their life planning and financial affairs, please get in touch.

Iain Harper, an Associate Director at Carbon, heads up our work on vulnerability. He can be contacted at or 07790 806128.

The value of investments and the income derived from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest.

This communication is for general information only and is not intended to be individual advice. It represents our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice. You are recommended to seek competent professional advice before taking any action.

Tax and Estate Planning Services are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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