The newspapers in March are highlighting the ethics of selling complicated services to people with dementia. Complaints have been made to the financial ombudsman service (FOS) about selling to vulnerable people, and how we protect people who cannot make decisions for themselves. Financial advisors are selling products such as ISAs on commission without a basic wage and this can mean that they are under pressure to make a sale, and they may adopt unethical practices to meet sales targets.
Andrea Sutcliffe chief inspector of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) stated “it is completely unacceptable for anyone to be put into a position where he signs up to any financial product without having a clear understanding”. As the number of people with dementia is likely to double over 40 years from 850,000 to 1.7 million the potential to mis-sell to vulnerable people is becoming an emerging issue.
Our owner Mark Booker states “we see statistics in the press that a large amount of the country’s wealth is held by people aged over 60 years old. This means that some older people have the disposable income to purchase goods and services, and therefore they will inevitably be approached. However, it is clear guidelines will need to be drawn up to protect those who do not have full mental capacity. People should not be sold complicated services using legally binding contracts without they understand fully what they are doing. Indeed it is a ticking timebomb – how we ensure that people with dementia handle their finances properly”.
Mark further states “in home care we see people who are capable of living at home but really should not be making complicated financial decisions without a family or guardian to protect their interests. As a care company all our staff are forbidden to get involved with legal or financial matters so we avoid conflicts of interest. However, problems occur if someone has no family living locally, if power of attorney is not in place, or if a person’s health declines rapidly.”