The Vulnerability Radar seeks to address growing concerns around the accessibility of financial services for vulnerable people. The FCA is currently consulting on guidance published in July 2019 to ensure consistency of outcomes for vulnerable consumers across the financial services sector.
The Vulnerability Radar has gone through a robust period of testing over the past two months with a group of 12 leading financial services firms, including Quilter and Aviva. These firms are all part of TISA’s working group on vulnerable customers and have worked to develop the tool over the last year. The Vulnerability Radar asks firms a range of questions relating to policy, products, systems, and implementation assesses the responses against best practice and provides a score and a spider graph result, as well as identifying areas for improvement.
Jonathan Warren, Consultant at Altus, said: “Vulnerable customers are central to the regulator’s agenda and rightly so, as we seek to ensure good outcomes for those in society for whom navigating the complexity of financial services is more challenging. It is, however, undeniable that identifying and supporting vulnerable customers on a sensitive and emotive issue will be complicated and require significant change to culture, operations, systems, governance and the training and skillset of employees.”
“Altus is pleased to have developed the Vulnerability Radar with TISA to support firms in periodically assessing their capability on vulnerable customers. The underlying content will continue to evolve as best practice emerges and thus will act as a common standard for firms who adopt it and drive the industry toward better and more consistent outcomes for all customers”
Stephen Gay, TISA’s Policy Manager, commented: “Everyone has either been vulnerable, will become vulnerable, or will care for someone vulnerable at some point in their lives. This is why ensuring the right protections are in place needs to be a fundamental part of how firms design, develop, and bring to market their products and services. Whether it’s paying bills online, navigating statements, or dealing with difficult subjects like debt, there are a myriad of issues that could exclude someone in vulnerable circumstances from accessing essential services.”
“We strongly believe that all customers should be able to use financial services, regardless of any impairment or difficult circumstance. Concerns around financial exclusion are rightly set to continue, and vulnerability issues are likely to remain high up the regulatory agenda for some time to come. By developing an easy to use tool, we hope to help firms adapt to regulatory changes, and ultimately create a more supportive environment for UK consumers.”
The Vulnerability Radar – which is being presented today at TISA’s Conference on Vulnerability - is available here on TISA’s website and can be used free of charge, by both TISA members and other financial services firms.