Many financial counsellors are now working from home and providing services over the phone or via video chat. This will mean that getting a financial counselling agency authorisation form signed means you need to email or post the form to your client. To assist financial counsellors, FCA has prepared two guides to help you get the authorisation form signed:
Financial Counsellor Authorisation and Client Signatures May 2020 explains how you can obtain authority to act on behalf of your clients even though you may be working from home and interacting with clients and creditors over the phone or via video link.
The document E-Signature Options for Financial Counsellors working from home explains the four options for obtaining electronic signatures from your clients. The document explains all the pros and cons of each options and where information is stored.
In further good news, FCA has recently finished a project to revise and update the Financial Counselling Agency Authorisation Form. The Financial Counselling Agency Authorisation Form is available here. We are encouraging all financial counsellors to use it because not only is it easy for clients to understand what they are signing but it can be completed and signed electronically.
The new authorisation form is accompanied by:
The Financial Counselling Agency Authorisation Guide, which explains how the new form works and what your client needs to understand, is available here.
The Financial Counselling Agency Authorisation Cover Letter/Email template explains what information to include in your cover letter/email to ensure you provide enough information to identify your client and their account details. It is available here.
Providing financial counselling
Providing financial counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic is an abbreviated version of much of the information on the Toolkit.
While it is a handy guide, we do encourage you to keep using the COVID-19 website for the most up to date information.
Early access to superannuation
Early Access to Superannuation - COVID-19 sets out a number of strategies you can use to encourage clients not to access their superannuation early.
It acknowledges that in some situations, there may be reasons for clients to access their super early.
COVID-19 Preparedness for the financial counselling sector discusses ways to minimise the risk when providing financial counselling through a pandemic so you can continue to provide financial counselling.
Beyond Blue’s Wellbeing Support service
BeyondBlue has launched a dedicated Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service website and phone line Ph: 1800 512 348. The free support ranges from wellbeing tips and self-help tools to phone counselling from trained mental health professionals and peer to peer support.
There’s practical advice about coping with loneliness and self-isolation, managing your mental health if you have the virus, ways to deal with the impact of job loss and financial worries, and coping with concerns about your physical health.