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What if things go wrong?

Just like anyone else, advisers may occasionally make a bad decision. In these circumstances an adviser will be judged as much on how they react and decide to act next as by the mistake they made in the first place.

Deciding what to do in these circumstances is hard. Acting ethically will often involve you acting directly against your own interests and against a natural instinct of self-preservation.

If you are dealing with this type of situation, you may need to revise some areas of the above methodology. For example:

  • there would be little point in asking ‘am I feeling uncomfortable about what I am about to do?’ so instead you should ask ‘I know that this is uncomfortable for me but what is the right thing to do by my client?’
  • you may obtain advice about the situation you are in and may also recommend your client seek independent advice, or at least think about it.

When a person makes a mistake, they are liable to panic and want to protect themselves and their business. This is a natural and normal reaction. However, this natural reaction can impair judgement. It may be important for you to ask someone else to look at the case to see if a mistake has been made, and if so, what can be done to resolve it.

The advice you receive may be that you cannot, or should not, continue to act for your client. This may be the best option for the client at that point and other options for representation could be made available to the client. It may also be that this is not necessary, or that your client does not want you to cease acting for them.

You may wish to consider the option of taking out professional indemnity insurance; however, it is important that you review any company’s policy carefully before doing so as the scope of cover can sometimes be limited.