You are here: Home - Credit Cards & Loans -

FCA to force firms to help vulnerable customers

Written by: Emma Lunn
The regulator wants to see banks, insurers and other financial firms treat customers suffering from poor health or financial difficulties more fairly.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation on proposed guidance for financial firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers.

The guidance sets out the FCA’s view of what the FCA principles require of firms to ensure that vulnerable consumers are consistently treated fairly across financial services sectors.

Proposed improvements include better training to help front-line staff identify vulnerable customers – these could be customers suffering from physical and mental health conditions, bereavement or a lack of confidence when dealing with financial matters.

Christopher Woolard, FCA executive director of strategy and competition, said: “Protecting vulnerable consumers is a key priority for the FCA and we want to see firms explicitly embedding the fair treatment of vulnerable consumers into their culture. Where we find that firms are not doing enough to ensure that consumers are treated fairly, we will take action.

“Firms need to take particular care to ensure that vulnerable consumers are treated fairly as they may be more likely to experience harm. The guidance should drive improvements across the industry, improving outcomes for millions of vulnerable consumers.”

Figures from StepChange Debt Charity show that 36 per cent of the charity’s clients in 2018 had “additional vulnerabilities”. A StepChange report titled Breaking the Link last year highlighted the correlation between vulnerability and debt.

Peter Tutton, head of policy at StepChange, said: “Our research shows the extra problems vulnerable people can face and the difficulty of resolving problems. This FCA guidance is a vital step to a market that works well for all people. We look forward to the focus it should produce on ensuring products and services take account of the needs of vulnerable consumers by design. So we welcome the FCA’s new guidance, and urge the regulator to implement it as soon as practical and to monitor it closely.”

The guidance will be consulted on in two stages and the FCA is asking for comments on the first stage of the consultation by 4 October 2019.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Everything you need to know about being furloughed

Few people had heard of ‘furlough’ before March 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic thrust the idea of bein...

The savings accounts paying the most interest

If one of your jobs this month is to get your finances in order, moving your savings to a higher paying deal i...

Coronavirus and your finances: what help can you get in the second lockdown?

News and updates on everything to do with coronavirus and your personal finances.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Money Tips of the Week

Read previous post:
How much will it cost to keep cool in the heatwave?

The mercury could hit 37°C this week with experts predicting that some parts of the South East could see the...