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FCA reveals ageing population strategy proposals

Written by: Hannah Uttley
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is preparing to undertake work in six key areas to combat poor access and choice for older consumers in financial services.

The FCA’s update follows a discussion paper published by the regulator in February, which kicked off the debate on how the ageing population could be provided with more flexible financial options.

Areas that the FCA will focus on are pensions; advice and guidance; mortgages; vulnerability; access; and scams and fraud.

Once input from stakeholders has been gathered via meetings and roundtables, the FCA will launch its Ageing Population Strategy in the summer of 2017. The FCA said its work leading up to the final strategy will look at making markets work better for older consumers through collaborative action, reviewing current regulations and practices and thorough analysis of each area.

The FCA said that lending to older borrowers is one of the areas that will be given greater consideration over the course of the next year, planning to draw on the Responsible Lending Review and work on competition in the mortgage sector where relevant.

As well as supporting stakeholders to improve their offering for older consumers, the FCA has also developed a programme of work for itself, focusing on areas that it believes will contribute toward the most positive change, such as access and vulnerability.

The FCA said: “Many responding to our Discussion Paper talked about the ways regulators can nudge disengaged consumers into better outcomes, and we know that older consumers sometimes struggle to use mainstream banking channels. So we want to explore areas where we can work together with stakeholders to turn these ideas into action that can work in practice for the benefit of our ageing population.

“Building on our Call for Inputs on mortgages, we are looking at whether there are barriers to innovation in mortgage products that might address some of these issues. We are encouraged to see firms thinking innovatively, with the intention of better serving the needs of older people, evidenced by some recent product developments. We are keen to explore whether there is more to be done to help consumers make the most of their resources for their whole retirement.”

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