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  • UK Conduct Regulator Consults on Firms' Treatment of Vulnerable Consumers

    The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has launched a consultation on its proposed guidance on how financial services firms should treat "vulnerable" consumers. The consultation will be divided into two stages: the first stage focuses on: (i) whether the draft guidance covers the right issues and provides sufficient clarity to firms on what they should do to improve outcomes for vulnerable consumers; (ii) the potential impact of the guidance on firms' costs and the potential benefit to consumers of the implementation of the guidance; and (iii) whether the guidance is sufficient to ensure firms take appropriate action to treat vulnerable consumers fairly or whether additional policy interventions are required. The second stage will seek input on a revised draft of the guidance, which will take account of feedback received during the first stage, together with a cost-benefit analysis. Responses to the first stage of the consultation should be provided by October 4, 2019.

    The consultation will be of interest to all FCA-regulated firms, industry groups, consumers and consumer organizations and advisers. The consultation follows the publication in 2018 of the FCA's "Approach to Consumers" document, which sets out the FCA's vision for a well-functioning market for consumers. As part of this, the FCA set out its intention to consult further on guidance for firms on the treatment of vulnerable consumers. A "vulnerable consumer" is defined as someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to detriment, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.

    View the FCA's consultation paper.

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