Revealing Reality research informs new FCA occasional paper

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today launched a new, high-profile Occasional Paper highlighting the challenges associated with the financial services experiences of consumers in a range of ‘vulnerable circumstances’.

The paper – authored by Martin Coppack, Yasmin Raza, Simon Sarkar, Kate Scribbins – draws extensively on recent Revealing Reality research. Our mixed-method approach captured the experiences and views of consumers facing six different kinds of challenges (including recent bereavement, long-term illness and caring).

As well as advocating a more inclusive view of vulnerability (a phenomenon likely to affect as us all at different times), our research identified key patterns in the types of challenges experienced by consumers, as well as what they consider ‘best practice’ from firms. These findings pointed clearly to a status quo in which many services are designed for a mythical ‘perfect customer’, and are insufficiently flexible when faced with changing customer circumstances. The FCA’s resultant paper – designed to broaden understanding, spark debate and assist firms in better meeting the needs of vulnerable consumers – draws extensively on our case studies and analysis in its guidance and suggestions.

Alongside a full research report (available here), our in-house Production Manager Nick Lane also created a short film to give an overview of the issues – incorporating the views of consumer representatives as well as customers themselves.

We’re really proud of our research in this sensitive and complex area, and would like to express our gratitude to the many individuals (totalling over 100 people) who gave up their time to speak frankly about their challenges and experiences.