Clinical tech launched to support legal experts identify mental capacity

Clinical Tech provider, Comentis, launches the first of its kind clinically backed technology to the legal and financial services markets to tackle the growing issue of people lacking mental capacity at any one time.

The Cognitive Assessment Engine (CAE) supports private client law firms in the identification of clients with reduced mental capacity, through software developed in conjunction with renowned mental health experts and psychologists. By uniquely combining class leading clinical and tech expertise, Comentis ensures firms are able to flag clients at risk of reduced capacity, objectively and consistently, at scale.

In 2015 the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) highlighted the need for the legal services industry to do more to ensure individuals that lacked mental capacity, as well as vulnerable customers, were identified and supported appropriately. More recently, the SRA echoed the guidance of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in terms of identifying and supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances, confirming that it will consider client vulnerability when looking into reports of solicitor misconduct.

Prior to the development of Comentis, the identification of vulnerable adults and those that may lack mental capacity has been a subjective process which has varied greatly between individual professionals and firms. Driven by Comentis’ in-house expertise and ongoing research in the client capacity space, the CAE is bringing objectivity, scalability, and consistency to the process, enabling legal professionals to mitigate risks and better protect clients.

The platform is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing technology and processes, to supplement and strengthen the relationships with clients by removing the burden of subjectivity from reduced capacity assessments, either during in-person or online meetings. The evidence-based assessment process also provides users with a clear and consistent audit trail.

Comentis will be led by Jonathan Barret (Co-founder and CEO), Tim Farmer (Co-founder and Clinical Director) and Dane Taylor (Co-founder and Product Director). Jonathan brings 20+ years financial services experience to the operation, having previously held senior roles within established fintechs and multi-national corporates including Legal & General; Tim is widely considered one of the UK’s leading experts in the assessment of mental capacity and financial vulnerability, having founded the multi-award winning, TSF Consultants, in 2011 – the UK’s largest provider of mental capacity and financial vulnerability assessments. Tim has also been appointed as a subject matter expert on the Personal Finance Society’s (PFS) Financial Vulnerability taskforce.

Jonathan Barrett, Co-Founder & CEO of Comentis, comments:

“At a time of mounting regulatory pressure and a growing number of consumers with reduced cognition, deploying solutions that will support firms in the identification and triaging of reduced capacity clients has never been more paramount. Comentis’ new cognitive assessment engine will do exactly that, providing them with robust procedures to detect risks and supporting them and the resilience of their business when it comes to serving customers with reduced capacity. Our clinical and digital-based solution allows us to deliver solutions to the market at pace and scale – a first for the legal services sector.”

Tim Farmer, Co-Founder & Clinical Director of Comentis, adds:

“Comentis’ clinical approach is what makes us unique and it’s incredibly exciting to be leading the clinical development of our cognitive assessment engine. A platform that enables professionals to screen for mental capacity, objectively and in real time, has previously been unavailable from the legal services market. However, by combining clinical expertise with digital thinking, we are able to provide legal professionals across the UK with market-leading technology with which to better detect clients with potentially reduced capacity. The cognitive assessment engine will ultimately support in the delivery of the best outcomes for clients, ensuring greater protection for consumers and identifying reduced capacity in real time.”

Comentis was founded in 2021 when one of our co-founders Tim Farmer noticed a gap in the financial and legal services markets for digital tools to assess financial vulnerability and mental capacity. Their approach uniquely combines clinical and fintech expertise to deliver a SaaS Cognitive Assessment Engine that identifies at risk customers for financial and legal service providers.

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