The guidance sets out the FCA’s view of what the FCA Principles require of firms to ensure that vulnerable consumers are consistently treated fairly across financial services sectors. 

The FCA wants to see doing the right thing for vulnerable consumers deeply embedded in firms’ culture. Firms will need to think about what the guidance means for their business and customers, and how they are understanding and addressing the needs of vulnerable customers.

As part of the FCA’s priority to protect vulnerable consumers, it has been working extensively with stakeholders on this issue. Whilst many firms have made significant progress in how they treat vulnerable consumers, the FCA believes that there needs to be more consistency across financial services sectors. In some cases, firms are clearly failing to consider the needs of vulnerable consumers, leading to harm.

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'.

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.

Notes to editors

  1. Guidance Consultation Paper GC19/3: Guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable consumers
  2. Our Approach to Consumers
  3. Financial Lives survey 2017

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