As the FCA launches a consultation to protect vulnerable customers, the regulator warns it will take action where it finds unfair treatment

The FCA has vowed to take action against firms treating vulnerable customers unfairly.

The warning was given on the launch of a consultation today on proposed guidance for the fair treatment on vulnerable customers.

While the FCA said many firms have made significant progress on how they treat vulnerable customers, it said there needs to be more consistency across financial services sectors.

In some cases, the regulator said firms were “clearly failing to consider the needs of vulnerable consumers, leading to harm.” Concerns have previously been raised by Citizens Advice that home insurers may have exploited the elderly.

Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition said: “Protecting vulnerable consumers is a key priority for the FCA and we want to see firms explicitly embedding the fair treatment of vulnerable consumers into their culture.

“Where we find that firms are not doing enough to ensure that consumers are treated fairly, we will take action.

“Firms need to take particular care to ensure that vulnerable consumers are treated fairly as they may be more likely to experience harm.

“The guidance should drive improvements across the industry, improving outcomes for millions of vulnerable consumers.”

The FCA had indicated it was more likely to take action over unfair pricing where it affected vulnerable customers in its feedback statement on unfair pricing in financial services last week.

This consultation will establish guidance on what the FCA principles require of firms, the ensure vulnerable customers are treated fairly. The FCA is asking for comments by 4 October.