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FCA launches consultation on treatment of vulnerable customers

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

The regulator wants to see the protection of vulnerable consumers “deeply” embedded in firms’ culture.

They will be required to think about what the guidance means for their business and customers, and how they are understanding and addressing the needs of vulnerable customers.

The FCA has been working extensively with stakeholders on this issue, whilst many firms have made progress in how they treat vulnerable consumers, it believes that there needs to be more consistency across the sectors.

In some cases, the regulator claims firms “clearly failing” to consider the needs of vulnerable consumers, leading to harm.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition, FCA 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.”

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

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