FCA has published a guidance consultation on what it considers the Principles require of firms in terms of fair treatment of vulnerable customers. It thinks firms have made big improvements generally, but now wants to focus on more consistency across sectors within the industry.
FCA is consulting on the guidance in 2 stages, with the first round of comments required by 4 October. By then, it seeks views on:
- whether the guidance covers the right issues and would give firms the clarity they want on FCA’s expectations;
- how the guidance would affect firms’ costs and the extent of benefits for vulnerable customers; and
- whether the guidance is enough to ensure firms take appropriate action.
As the second stage, FCA will revise the current draft and consult also on any further interventions it may consider necessary.
The guidance covers:
- what customers are actually or potentially vulnerable and what drives vulnerability, its scale and impact and what firms should be doing to protect them;
- understanding the needs of such customers;
- ensuring staff have the skills and capability to address these needs;
- practical action that firms should be taking in matters like product design, customer service and communications; and
- how firms should monitor outcomes.
FCA has also include a guide on GDPR issues, and examples of good and poor practices.