New guidance launched on treatment of vulnerable customers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a consultation on new guidance for companies regarding the fair treatment of vulnerable customers.

When launching the consultation, the FCA said it was keen to see firms having doing the right thing for vulnerable consumers “deeply embedded” in their culture, with the draft guidance covering three main sectors towards this: understanding the needs of vulnerable customers; ensuring staff have both the skills and capabilities needed; and translating that understanding into practical action.

The FCA suggested use of external materials to understand vulnerability indicators and the creation of an international vulnerability policy as methods of increasing understanding, while internal training programmes and engagement with specialist charities could help to ensure staff have the necessary skills and capabilities. It also called for such understand to be integrated into product and service design, customer services and communications.

The consultation will run in two stages, with the first concluding on 4 October, before a revised draft guidance is issued alongside a cost-benefit analysis.