How Equanimity is ready for Consumer Duty

Consumer Duty is a package of measures our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, has brought in to ensure that all firms, like Equanimity put their clients at the heart of their business.

This means offering products and services that are fit for purpose and which represent fair value.

“Tick, tick, tick,” we said, as these principles are absolutely central to what we believe and thankfully, from very kind feedback from many of our clients, we know is what we are delivering.

However we could, and more importantly we do, want to do better for our clients.

The Consumer Duty has given us the ideal opportunity to evaluate every single part of the business.

This includes:

  • How we operate
  • How will deliver our client journey
  • The communication we send.

Our main aim is to work collaboratively with our clients, where Equanimity handles all the inputs and outputs of financial planning, so clients can sit back and enjoy the outcomes.

So, what is good value?

Research by Harvard Business Review across many different brands in many different categories shows that the most effective way to maximise good customer value is to do more than deliver customer satisfaction.

The key is to connect to them on an emotional level – delving into their deep and often not talked about emotional needs.

As a result of their research they came up with a large list of emotional connectors.

Examples of emotional connectors are:

I am inspired by a desire to: Firms can help clients to:
Have confidence in the future Perceive the future as better than the past; have a positive mental picture of what’s to come
Enjoy a sense of well being Feel that life measure up to expectations and that balance has been achieved; seek stress-free state without conflicts or threats
Protect the environment Sustain the belief that the environment is sacred; take action to improve their surroundings
Feel secure Believe that what they have today will be there tomorrow; pursue goals and dreams without worry
Succeed in life Feel that they lead meaningful lives; find worth that goes beyond financial or socioeconomic measures

SOURCE SCOTT MAGIDS, ALAN ZORFAS, AND DANIEL LEEMON

FROM “THE NEW SCIENCE OF CUSTOMER EMOTIONS,” NOVEMBER 2015

 
There is a strong link between these emotional connectors and the key messages Equanimity strives to deliver to our clients. These ensure not only do they receive their desired outcomes, but also that they are left with a sense of achieving real value and support by engaging in an ongoing relationship with Equanimity.

Therefore, Equanimity defines value with four key messages:

Equanimity defines value with four key messages

Our goal is that every client who works with us on an ongoing basis can answer “yes” to the above.

By doing so they will have confidence in the future, feel a sense of freedom, enjoy a sense of well-being, feel secure, and succeed in life.

Providing value is only one part of the Consumer Duty.

Other areas Equanimity are currently working on are:

  • Redesigning our client communication to ensure they are easy and simple to read.
  • Adding helpful guides to ensure every aspect of the advice and products recommended is delivered in a simple and easy to understand format
  • Updating our website to reflect these intentions.

Another outcome the FCA want firms to deliver is customer support and staff training and development

We are very passionate about developing our team. Each member of the team has their own training plan to ensure they are continually learning, with many studying industry exams.

Not only are we ensuring technical knowledge is expanded, but also enhancing our customer service, and learning how to handle unique situations, such as when dealing with our more vulnerable clients.

An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction (2017).

Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/08/an-emotional-connection-matters-more-than-customer-satisfaction