The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its final guidance of its expectations of firms should fairly treat vulnerable customers.
The regulator estimates that 27.7 million adults in the UK have characteristics of vulnerability such as poor health, experiencing negative life events, low financial resilience or low capability.
“Protecting vulnerable consumers remains a key focus for us and given the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it is more important than ever that firms get this right,” said Nisha Arora, director of consumer and retail policy.
“The guidance being announced today will help ensure vulnerable consumers are treated fairly and achieve outcomes as good as other consumers.
“While some firms have made significant progress, we want to see all firms across sectors taking steps to understand and respond to the needs of their customers, particularly those who are most vulnerable to harm.
“We also remind customers to tell your providers if you have specific needs – whether that’s due to ill health making it difficult to access a service, or a recent emotional or financial shock that is impacting your finances. Doing this will help firms support you.”
The FCA reminded firms that they should be aware of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010. It is likely that a breach of the Equality Act, for example failure to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled people, will also be a breach of the FCA’s rules.
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