Financial Conduct Authority rules out introducing duty of care for vulnerable customers

By agency reporter
April 24, 2019

On 23 April 2019 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed that it will not introduce a legal ‘Duty of Care’ for financial services firms to their customers. The FCA consulted on proposals for the duty in 2018, following calls from campaigning charities for the regulator to do more to protect vulnerable consumers, including people with mental health problems.

Andrew Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority accepted that more could be done to protect vulnerable people and stated that the regulator would consider changes to the principles that govern its work to increase protection for consumers. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute has been calling for changes to these principles, and has welcomed the move.

Commenting on the recommendations, Helen Undy, Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: “People with mental health problems are three and a half times as likely to be in problem debt, and in part that’s because the financial services industry fails to adequately anticipate and meet their needs. People are penalised with higher costs if they’re too unwell to shop around, face higher charges when they struggle to make a telephone call to sort out issues on their account, or find themselves stuck with services that they don’t want or need. With one in four of us experiencing a mental health problem each year, a market that doesn’t work for this group of people really doesn’t work at all.

“With the FCA today ruling out introducing a Duty of Care, it’s all the more important that other action is taken. We are pleased that the regulator has listened to our suggestion that changes are needed to their principles to better protect vulnerable customers and we will be working to ensure that these changes happen. In particular, we’d like to see the principles better balance the tension between the regulator’s duty to promote competition and to protect vulnerable customers, ensuring that customers who are struggling do not end up paying more and subsidising better deals for more active consumers.”

* Read the Financial Conduct Authority's Feedback statement here

* Money and Mental Health Institute https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/

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