21Sep

In September 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published an update into its work regarding how to address issues related to the rise in the number of older people in UK society.

The key questions the regulator wishes to address are:

• What happens as the mind ages, and what does this mean in terms of products, services and distribution?
• Is there more that can be done to help consumers navigate markets where upper age limits exist?
• How can firms help consumers to better engage with products and services in retail banking?
• How can we work with our stakeholders to support those who require third party access?
• How can the FCA build on existing industry initiatives to facilitate mortgage lending to older consumers?
• Can older people and their families access regulated advice for long term care?

The FCA acknowledges that older customers may have different financial needs, saying that it recognises that they “are currently more likely than younger consumers to be asset-rich and cash-poor.”

Some of the specific topics then addressed by the FCA update include:

• Pensions – the FCA recognises that the market is still adapting to the recently introduced pension freedoms, and that it is looking at how it can ensure older customers are treated fairly, and at how effective competition can be facilitated
• Advice and guidance – here the FCA notes that consultation is taking place into a new guidance regime that will replace the existing Money Advice Service. It suggests there is a need to improve basic financial capability and budgeting skills amongst older people
• Mortgages – the FCA has promised to look closely at the subject of mortgage lending to older people over the next year. There have been a number of press reports regarding lenders refusing to lend if the mortgage term would run past age 65
• Vulnerability – the FCA says it will work with other parties, such as trade bodies, to consider whether more can be done as regards the issue of fair treatment of vulnerable consumers. The regulator recognises that not all older people are vulnerable, and that not all vulnerable customers are elderly, but does note that older people are more likely to experience vulnerability issues around mobility or dexterity
• Scams and fraud – the regulator acknowledges that older people are more likely to fall victim to fraud. It remarks that it has already reached over 3 million consumers via its ScamSmart campaign, and adds that it will continue to work with law enforcement agencies and other relevant bodies to improve consumer awareness of scammers’ tactics

The FCA will launch a formal Ageing Population Strategy in Summer 2017. Ahead of this, it will conduct bilateral meetings and roundtables with interested stakeholders on key issues.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.