Professional Deputies was formed in April 2011 with the aim of providing an all round money management system for some of the most vulnerable members of society. Our experience and research showed that there seemed to be a gap in the market between the services offered in the private sector, and the resulting services offered in the public sector. Thus it was identified that a large number of possible vulnerable people were not in receipt of any form of a money management service or guidance. The repercussions of this for these individuals are wide reaching, including to name a few: continuing ill health (physical & mental), open to financial abuse and other forms of abuse, homelessness, further debt problems, not making the most of opportunities available to them and so on.
The reasons behind the gap in the two sectors are as follows:
Private Sector – Organisations working within the private sector are allowed to charge either ‘fixed costs’ or ‘assessed costs’. The majority of organisations opt to charge for assessed costs, as these costs far exceed the fixed costs set by the CoP annually. Assessed costs will generally take into account the size of the client’s estate. Thus these organisations tend to pick and choose who they want to act for, and will typically decide to act for the ‘high net wealth’ clients, or those with significant assets.
So what happens to those clients that do not possess significant assets? Well they traditionally were picked up by the:
Public Sector – However as these services are non-statutory (ie. not required to be undertaken by law) for these public sector organisations, and combined with swingeing public sector cuts over the past ten years, a number are either:
- scaling back these services with the view to eventually winding them down
- disbanding these services, or
- looking at options to outsource these services
In light of this gap Professional Deputies was formed with the idea that we could bring to the market (and more importantly our clients) the following advantages:
- with the correct systems and technologies in place we are able to concentrate on our core business – managing client’s funds/assets for their benefit. This also allows us to streamline our work activities/processes, which in turn provides us with the capacity to take on further clients while not affecting the services we already offer to our existing clients.
- specific expertise in a niche work area (Biography of Andy Riddle – Company Founder)
- we are not constrained by budgetary cuts (as some organisations within the public sector currently are), and are in fact investing in our services by looking to take on further staff and investing in specific software aimed at managing vulnerable client’s financial affairs.
- we are not bound by bureaucracy that is found in some organisations within the public sector
- when a client has substantial funds, these funds are normally held by the Court Funds Office (CFO), whose role is to administer funds paid into court. The interest rate offered on these funds typically tracks the Bank of England base rate. The vast majority of organisations within the public sector do not have either the expertise or time to look at investing these funds elsewhere, thus possibly gaining a more favourable rate of interest for their clients. Working collaboratively with a handful of carefully selected financial advisers, chartered financial planners & discretionary fund managers, we are able to offer our clients a service where their funds are able to attract a more favourable rate of interest. Any such action is only taken after consultation with the client and their circle of care, with security been the top priority for all.
- we offer an independent service free of any conflict of interest, unlike some organisations within the public sector who might be managing a client’s funds while collecting a range of charges from them. Charges like residential care charges, rent, domiciliary care charges etc.
- key contacts and networks throughout the country
We see this type of work continuing to rise for a number of reasons:
- ageing population/increased life expectancy
- an increase in dementia type illnesses
- new government directives eg. promoting independence by assisting people to remain in their own homes, thus reducing the cost to the state. These people might not have the same network of assistance when it comes to their finances/assets.
- an increase in accumulation of individual wealth and varying investments, results in more complex cases for lay deputies (friend or family member)
- financial abuse of such clients is on the increase
- family members or friends often living far away from the client, unlike generations before where families and friends often lived in close proximity
Professional Deputies believe that we are well placed to meet any continuing demand for these types of services.