Whilst the FCA are in the midst of reviewing the discussion paper responses they have released an interim update on their work in this area. The FCA explain that they have drawn up a programme of work based on the responses received and their own analysis of current regulatory priorities. Whilst looking at how older consumers engage with financial services on a day to day basis the FCA will also be looking to compliment existing initiatives. As part of their Work Plan the FCA have highlighted the following areas:-
- Pensions: in light of recent changes in the Pensions market the FCA are evaluating the whole sector to ensure that not only is there competition in the market but also that older consumers are treated fairly.
- Advice and Guidance: as result of Project Innovate a dedicated Advice Unit has been established by the FCA. The Government is currently consulting on Public Financial Guidance. The Government and the FCA want to address the barriers to consumers accessing advice and guidance. They also want to improve the services for those seeking guidance. These aims apply to all consumers however there are aspects which specifically impact older consumers.
- Mortgages: over the next year the FCA intend to consider in more detail the issues surrounding lending to older consumers. Previous work on Responsible Lending will also be taken into consideration. Reference will also be made to the FCA's work on competition in the mortgage sector as a whole.
- Vulnerability: whilst not all older consumers are vulnerable and all consumers can become vulnerable there is some overlap in the issues which impact both vulnerability and ageing. The FCA is seeking to collaborate with trade bodies to further existing work and to identify any gaps which need to be addressed.
- Access: Occasional Paper No 17: Access to Financial Services in the UK, released in May 2016, highlighted the role the mortgage market can play in adapting to allow older consumers to access lending options. In addition the paper asserted that more should be done to encourage "clear explanations if turned down and signposting to other lenders or options." The FCA are considering these challenges along with the promotion of innovation and the provision of information to older consumers as a means to improving access.
- Scams and fraud: on top of the FCA's existing work in preventing financial scams and fraud they have launched a campaign specifically aimed at older consumers. The SmartScam campaign resulted from FCA research which found that older consumers are more likely to suffer from financial scams and fraud. The campaign is targeted at this audience to increase awareness and highlight methods of prevention.
Smarter Consumer Communication: the FCA have identified where the industry can improve communications through their discussion paper, Smarter customer communications DP15/5. They are aiming to publish Feedback Statement in the Autumn.