The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today announced it is retaining its existing definition of vulnerable consumers in response to its Consumer Approach consultation, with new guidance on vulnerability set to be published next year.
The consultation, which was launched in November last year, proposed a new definition for vulnerable consumers. A range of organisations including the Money Advice Trust raised concerns that the proposed new definition presented a potential step backwards for the vulnerability agenda, with a shift in focus towards the consumer and away from the actions of financial services firms.
The regulator will also now publish new guidance for firms on identifying and supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances next year.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said: “The FCA’s decision to retain its existing definition of vulnerable consumers is the right approach and shows that vulnerability remains an important priority for the regulator. I am pleased that the FCA has listened to the concerns we raised as a sector about the proposed change.
“From our work training creditors in this area we know there is a growing appetite from many organisations to further improve their processes and training of frontline staff to better support vulnerable customers.
“With this continued commitment to vulnerability, the industry is in a strong position to build on the progress already made by many firms in their support for customers in vulnerable circumstances.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the FCA, creditors and partners across the sector to ensure customers receive the right support they need.”
The Money Advice Trust has trained more than 16,000 staff in over 190 creditor organisations on identifying and supporting customers in vulnerable circumstances.