THE coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of adults with a greater risk to poor financial health.

The FCA has just run a Financial Lives Survey to understand the financial situation of consumers, the financial products they have chosen and the experience with financial firms.

Originally run in February 2020, but subsequently updated with new information in October, the Financial Lives Survey found that 27.7m consumers were now classed as vulnerable.

It means leasing brokers will have to be extra vigilant in detecting signs of poor health, low financial resilience or recent negative life events – because such consumers could be at greater risk of harm.

Nisha Arora, director of consumer and retail policy at the FCA said about the findings:

“The Financial Lives survey is fundamental to the work we do as a regulator, enabling us to hear directly from consumers across the UK.

“While there are some positives in the data, many of the findings are worrying. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of people experiencing low financial resilience or negative life events has grown. The pain is not being shared equally with a higher than average proportion of younger and BAME adults becoming vulnerable since March. It is likely the picture will have got worse since we conducted the survey.

“Vulnerability remains a key focus for the FCA, and has been brought into sharp relief by the pandemic. We continue to work with the wider financial services sector, including businesses, regulators and government to support and protect consumers. We expect to finalise our guidance on how firms should treat vulnerable customers shortly.”

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