Xplan can help you comply with Consumer Duty – find out how

If, like most financial advisers, you’re knee deep in preparations for the FCA’s impending Consumer Duty, are you missing a trick by overlooking the role that Xplan can play? Xplan comes with powerful MI capabilities and the functionality to take on a big chunk of the heavy lifting for you. Evotra’s CEO Sally Merritt explains how.

To comply with Consumer Duty, which comes into force on 31 July 2023, wealth and asset managers – along with banks and insurance providers – must be in a position to demonstrate to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that they are achieving ‘good customer outcomes’.

This isn’t just the FCA signalling that it will become much more proactive in monitoring the effectiveness of a firm’s internal processes. Instead, the intention of Consumer Duty is that it will bring about cultural change, ensuring that all firms embed good customer outcomes at the heart of their businesses, challenging themselves to monitor, test and review products and services continuously and take action where necessary.

Data is critical to success

Firms will need to put in place processes to pinpoint relevant data, gather and analyse it effectively and then act on it. And this of course means that appropriate resourcing and training are essential too.

While undoubtedly onerous, particularly for those smaller businesses already weighed down by paperwork, the good news for Xplan users is that you’ve already got the software capable of doing much of the heavy lifting for you.

Xplan has powerful MI capabilities

Xplan is strong at management information and can provide you with the solid, data-driven insights into your clients, products and services that are needed to respond to both the letter and spirit of Consumer Duty. If configured correctly, it can also provide huge efficiencies through automation and integration with your existing processes and systems.

Most  firms underuse Xplan’s MI functionality, particularly those that have recently migrated from Adviser Office to Xplan and are still getting to grips with their new system. At Evotra, our team have seen this first hand when supporting clients with Xplan so, in the lead up to Consumer Duty – and with the FCA concerned that many firms are behind with their implementation plans –  we are sharing some of our insights into how Xplan can help you prepare for and comply with Consumer Duty.

3 different ways Xplan can help make sure your firm is Consumer Duty ready

1.      Embrace Xplan’s  Client Portal

Many firms aren’t using the Client Portal across their client base yet. How can it help with Consumer Duty?

Under the new regime you are required to set up structures and governance to monitor communications, test them, gather feedback and act on it. Client Portal creates a simple, secure way for you to engage proactively with clients – either individually or in bulk – keep track of responses and gain meaningful insights. Here are some quick wins you can introduce that, when added together, can increase your client experience, enhance communications and improve governance:

  • Increase personalisation by adding photos of your advisers to Client Portal with links through to their contact details. This means that when your clients log in, they can see exactly who they’re dealing with and get in touch easily.  In an increasingly remote working environment, this simple touch can make a big difference
  • Share documents with clients, set up automated emails and use digital signatures in a secure environment. As an example, you can save a suitability letter to the client record, share it with the client via the portal, generate an automated email to your client letting them know it’s there and invite them to sign it at the click of a button
  • Make the most of Client Portal’s advanced linking capabilities to link parent and child accounts, trustees to trusts or those with power of attorney to client accounts
  • Support clients who prefer or need a digital, paperless environment by inviting them to complete digital versions of fact finds and attitude-to-risk questionnaires via Client Portal
  • Set up an automated online review check-in to give clients a gentle nudge that their annual review is due. This needn’t replace a traditional phone call from the adviser. Instead, sent a week or two in advance, it’ll alert the client and increase the chances of the advisers reaching their clients
  • Depending on your Xplan package , it’s also possible to gather client feedback by creating a bespoke Xmerge survey, deploy it to relevant clients via Client Portal and save responses directly in their Xplan record

2.      Add rigour to processes around vulnerability

Firms are already alert to the need to safeguard vulnerable clients and should have robust processes in place. But with Consumer Duty shining an even stronger spotlight on vulnerable clients, are you aware of what Xplan can do to help enhance your processes?

A good example is the additional detail around vulnerability that Xplan allows you to capture, including a free text ‘reason’ field and optional start and end dates. It creates a simple way to enrich your data by capturing important information alongside vulnerability flags. You can pull this data into reports and using logic can, for example, create alerts to remind advisers to check in with clients.

With Xplan it’s also easy to run reports on vulnerable clients, enabling you to review your records, spot any missing or dated information and take remedial action.

3.      Track, resolve and act on learnings from complaints

Any compliance regime that focuses on customer outcomes will naturally have a keen eye for complaints – how a firm handles these, responds and learns from them and, more broadly, what these complaints say about the firm and the way it conducts its business.  

In pursuit of better outcomes, the FCA also expects firms to challenge themselves over what they offer and how they offer it, and a well-managed complaints process is fundamental here. By providing insights into clients and exposing areas in need of improvement, it can drive advancement and innovation.

Xplan has a complaints module that can pull this all together for you, helping you implement enhanced workflows, automate processes, generate valuable data and evidence what you are doing. In a central location with a clear audit trail, you can record complaints, assign follow-up tasks, keep track of progress and make sure complaints are resolved. Rather than using free-text file notes to document progress, Xplan has fields designed specifically for you to log complaints, dates and resolutions.

Xplan’s complaints module is capable of creating huge efficiencies and generating valuable, granular MI to help inform strategic decisions.

These three areas are just the tip of the iceberg. Whether it’s improving the quality of advice by creating workflows and benchmarks or using the often-overlooked time-tracking functionality to provide meaningful MI to measure and demonstrate the fair value of your products and services – there are many other ways that Xplan can help you develop and implement your approach to Consumer Duty.

How Evotra can help you

With our in-depth understanding of the wealth management industry, Consumer Duty and Xplan, Evotra can help you harness Xplan to cut through the complexities of Consumer Duty.

Our experienced team can:

  • Support you in configuring Xplan to meet the specific needs of your firm
  • Train your team to get the best from Xplan
  • Work with stakeholders to document your requirements, help you join the dots across your business and build custom workflows to achieve your goals

You don’t need to prepare for and comply with Consumer Duty alone. We’re here to help. If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch for a discussion. You can contact us at hello@evotra.co.uk or by calling +44 (0) 203 4101 955.