IFA working on pro-bono offering

The IFA is pondering a pro-bono programme for financial advisers to offer help to needy clients.

by Susan Edmunds

President Michael Dowling said it could be expected to launch as a national service in the third quarter of this year.

The IFA has run a pilot programme and is analysing the findings.

Dowling said it would be designed to target people in need, such as those who had lost their jobs or were getting into too much debt. “Or even sickness. I’ve had a few trauma claims this year and I’ve been surprised how many clients didn’t realise they are insured for that stuff.”

Dowling said the IFA was trying to work out whether a system could be devised that would offer safety mechanism to protect advisers. “You don’t want to do a lot of work and put your neck in the noose when it’s pro-bono,” he said.

The pro-bono trial was run in conjunction with an external group but Dowling said it would be inappropriate to reveal who that was yet.

“We’re looking at: Is this having the impact we’re looking for, is it creating the outcomes we’re looking for, is there a smarter, better way to do it?”

There would be multiple benefits for the advisory community, he said.

“It would improve the general trust in financial advisers and you’ve also got the opportunity on a case-by-case basis to make a vast improvement to an individual’s circumstances.  The cost to the adviser, of course, is that they go without income and that would have to be managed, we’d have to prevent people taking on too big a workload in some areas.”

Many advisers already did charitable work and benefited from that, Dowling said. “There’s an appetite for it.”

The next step was to get a working group together to consider what could be done, the infrastructure needed for it and the benefits for the organisation, he said.

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