Advisers expect FCA to increase scrutiny on ‘vulnerable’ consumers

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of financial intermediary companies expect the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to supervise the identifying and protecting of vulnerable consumers in the next five years.

Many financial service firms forecast that the FCA will deal with companies that fail to meet its standards in regard to dealing with vulnerable customers.

Commenting on the findings, Just Group group communications director, Stephen Lowe, said: “The FCA has said up to 50 per cent of consumers could be potentially vulnerable and need extra support.

“The independent research found the typical number identified by firms was around 5 per cent or less, so clearly there is a huge gap between the regulator’s expectations and the firms’ experience.”

Just Group also said that firms believed that more co-operation between the government, regulators and industry sectors to try and ensure that vulnerable consumers were protected.

It has been nearly four years since the FCA’s Occasional Paper No.8 Consumer Vulnerability, and the research seeks to explore the progress that firms have made so far and how best to meet future challenges.

The research is expected to be discussed further at Just Group’s next annual retirement leaders summit.

Lowe added: “We found most firms are reliant on frontline staff to identify vulnerable customers but this is a big ask because, however highly trained, there are by no means experts in diagnosis.

“The most obvious vulnerabilities will be picked up but firms are aware there is a vast swathe of less obvious cases that are going un-recorded.”

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