James Lown, Financial Services Director at EY, comments: “Today’s final guidance from the FCA confirms that the focus on vulnerable customers remains one of the regulator’s top priorities. It is a welcome and timely move by the regulator and provides much needed clarity to firms at a challenging time when many vulnerable customers are more susceptible to harm than usual.
“Firms must now ensure that they can evidence they can meet the expectations set out in this guidance. Given the sheer volume of vulnerable customers as a result of the pandemic and the six focus areas set out in the finalised guidance, firms will likely need to reassess their current position and whether additional practical steps are required to remain in line with these revised expectations.
“Whilst the FCA has stated that some firms have made significant progress, others will have more work to do to align with the revised expectations, especially against the current backdrop of operational challenges due to ongoing remote working. Empowering staff with effective training and ongoing support so they can identify and support vulnerable customers across all products and channels will be key, while of course ensuring ongoing compliance with GDPR."