UK Finance welcomes FCA vulnerability framework

Robyn Ashman

July 23, 2019

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UK Finance has welcomed the Financial Conduct Authority’s guidance on the setting out of a framework to help firms identify potentially vulnerable customers and ensure they are treated fairly. 

The regulator has split the guidance into a number of sections. These include understanding the needs of vulnerable customers, skills and capability of staff, product and service design, customer services, communications, and monitoring and evaluation.

Overall the FCA said it wanted to see firms doing the right thing for vulnerable consumers and have that embedded in their business culture.

Christopher Woolard, 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”.

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance, UK Finance, added: “The financial services industry is committed to looking after every customer, especially those in vulnerable circumstances.

“The proposed FCA guidance provides welcome clarity, setting out a practical framework to help firms identify potentially vulnerable customers and ensure they are treated fairly and consistently.

“This will build on the significant programme of work being undertaken by the industry in this area, including implementing the recommendations of the Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce, improving the way family members or carers can help manage bank accounts and introducing a new code of practice to support victims of financial abuse.

“UK Finance will continue to work closely alongside its members, the regulator and other stakeholders as this guidance is finalised and implemented, to ensure vulnerable customers receive the best possible support.”

The guidance will be consulted on in 2 stages and the FCA is asking for comments on this first stage of the consultation by 4 October 2019.

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