Vulnerability Exposed

Financial Conduct Authority


By revealing the true drivers of the poor financial service experiences of vulnerable consumers, we helped to galvanise the FCA, financial firms and consumer champions into more proactive and collaborative advancement of the vulnerability agenda


Nominated for the MRS Financial Services Research Award 2015


With the FCA taking on an unprecedented number of new responsibilities, its internal Partnerships Team was struggling to engage key stakeholders about the needs of the many vulnerable consumers who were experiencing poor outcomes from financial firms.

Our research revealed how insensitive or inexcusably inflexible firm behaviour – resulting from regulation, lack of training and inflexible tools designed for a mythical ‘normal’ customer – was not only having an adverse effect on consumers, but was also costing firms a lot of money.

We identified a powerful new narrative to advance the vulnerability agenda, going beyond consumer detriment ‘sob stories’ and instead re-framing the whole debate as an opportunity for firms.

Since its publication, our report has gained unprecedented traction within the financial services industry and the international regulatory community. Several banks and building societies have even introduced or refocused internal training programmes around vulnerability – directly incorporating key principles from our research.