Supporting Vulnerable Customers
With 53% of UK adults showing characteristics of a vulnerability, being able to recognise if your customer may need further help and support is crucial. We are here to help support you and your client through difficult times.
What is a Vulnerable Customer?
The FCA’s definition of a vulnerable customer is someone ‘who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.’
Who is affected by a vulnerability?
The latest report from the FCA showed that in February 2020 46% of UK adults (24.1 million people) had characteristics of a vulnerability. By October 2020, a survey indicated that this had increased to 53%, showing that there were many more people who found themselves at greater risk of harm due to the pandemic and its effects.
Customer vulnerabilities can be very different and stem from different causes, it's important that in each case, fair treatment is given to customers who are vulnerable.
Vulnerabilities can differ depending on a customer’s circumstances, whether it be ill health, a life event or other factors. Vulnerabilities can be temporary or permanent and it is important to understand that a customer can become vulnerable at any stage in their life.
Where can I get further information?
Further guidance can be found from the Finalised Guidance FCA Report, which aims to provide help for identifying, understanding and supporting vulnerable customers. The report also covers key areas for firms to explore.
How will this affect me?
Being unaware of a customer vulnerability could lead to poor outcomes for the client, which is why it’s so important that you understand your customer to identify if they require any additional support.
If you have identified that your customer is vulnerable the following steps may help you to support them, however we understand that vulnerabilities can take different forms. You will need to adapt your approach to cater to customers personal needs, so please treat the information below as a guide and not advice.
Please note that if your customer is not able to understand the information or advice provided to them, under no circumstances should you proceed with the sale.