The consultation took place following the FCA’s April 2017 Mission statement, which set out how the FCA intended to serve the public interest and deliver public value to the wider society through its regulation. In particular the FCA said it would publish a number of documents giving further detail about how its approach would be reflected in its wider work – one of which was the November 2017 consultation paper.
Having considered the comments it received in the consultation, the Approach document sets out:
- the FCA’s vision for well-functioning markets that work for consumers;
- the FCA’s relevant regulatory and legal framework;
- when and how the FCA will act to protect consumers;
- the FCA’s policy positions on key issues; and
- the FCA’s strategy for ensuring it advances its consumer protection objective with the greatest impact.
Some key points include:
- The FCA has decided to revert to the original definition of vulnerability from Occasional Paper No 8, which defines a vulnerable consumer as ‘someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care’.
- In response to the consultation some stakeholders raised concerns that the FCA’s current regulatory framework did not provide adequate protection for consumers and called for the introduction of a “duty of care” on firms when dealing with consumers. In response and alongside the Approach Document, the FCA has published a Discussion Paper to help it better understand where there are gaps in its regulatory and legal framework.
- The FCA plans to consult early next year on guidance for firms on the identification and treatment of vulnerable consumers, in order to provide clarity on its expectations of firms and ensure good outcomes for consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers.