The FCA is calling on firms to design more products that are tailored to older consumers.
In a speech yesterday, FCA life insurance and financial advice director Linda Woodall said that as the population ages, it was increasingly important that the elderly received support when they engaged with financial services, including when thinking about retirement.
Launching a paper from the regulator on the consequences of the ageing population on financial services, Woodall said there was “a risk” the needs of older consumers are not being fully met, which could potentially result in financial exclusion and harm
Woodall said: “Almost all of you know an older person who might be finding that certain aspects of their lives have become just a little more complicated with age – including the use of financial services and products.
“We found that there’s scope for firms to do more to support older consumers – from how products are designed, to the way consumers engage with their financial products and services and how they are supported when they do so.
“We’re asking firms to think about how they support older consumers, especially as their needs change over time.
“In particular – are there new products they could develop to fill gaps in the market? How could firms help customers recognise when they’re having difficulties, and encourage them to ask for help? A firm might be a key port of call when someone is contemplating retirement, suffering a bereavement, or working out how to fund residential care. What role do firms play in helping individuals make sense of their financial situation, explaining the technicalities, and helping them feel more in control of their finances?”
Woodall says that the regulator expects to review how the financial services industry is serving older consumers in three to five years’ time.
The FCA has also previously questioned the amount of product innovation in the retirement space as part of its work on pension freedoms.