The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) defines vulnerable customers as the following:
‘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.’
How can a customer be vulnerable?
Vulnerability can come in a range of guises and can be temporary, sporadic or permanent in nature. It is a fluid state that needs a flexible, tailored response from firms. The following are examples of how customers can be vulnerable:
• Mental health problems i.e. depression or anxiety
• Difficult financial circumstances i.e. recent unemployment
• Physical health problems i.e. disability or long term illnesses
• Communication skills i.e. an individual who has limited English
How can businesses assist vulnerable customers?
- We aim to provide clear information during the sale so vulnerable customers can make an informed decision
- By encouraging larger deposits to help customers choose circumstances change
- By training staff and making it part of our culture to approach with sensitivity and respect.
- By seeing how we can adapt to individual customers so that their needs are met
- By ultimately referring customers to specialist advice if that’s the most appropriate decision
- Most of our funders will only consider business users