STATEMENT: The FCA is right to keep its definition of vulnerable customers

July 17, 2018

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair of the Financial Inclusion Commission, said:

“We welcome the FCA’s decision to keep its existing definition of vulnerable consumers, rather than introducing a new definition proposed last year.

“As we have argued, the new proposal risked weakening the definition of vulnerable customers and would have been a step backwards for consumer protection.

“We are delighted that the FCA listened to the concerns of the FIC and a coalition of organisations - including the Money Advice Trust, Bristol Personal Finance Research Centre, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Age UK, StepChange and Macmillan - and has opted for the right approach to defining vulnerability”.

Notes to editors

The FCA’s definition of a vulnerable consumer is:

“Someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care”.

The change proposed in the FCA’s Our Approach to Consumers 2017 consultation paper, now dropped, would have changed the definition to:

“People who can readily be identified as significantly less able to engage with the market, and/or people who would suffer disproportionately if things go wrong.”