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Supporting Vulnerable Customers

With 53% of UK adults showing characteristics of a vulnerability, being able to recognise if your customer may need further help and support is crucial. We are here to help support you and your client through difficult times.

What is a Vulnerable Customer?


The FCA’s definition of a vulnerable customer is someone ‘who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care.’

Who is affected by a vulnerability?


The latest report from the FCA showed that in February 2020 46% of UK adults (24.1 million people) had characteristics of a vulnerability. By October 2020, a survey indicated that this had increased to 53%, showing that there were many more people who found themselves at greater risk of harm due to the pandemic and its effects.

Customer vulnerabilities can be very different and stem from different causes, it's important that in each case, fair treatment is given to customers who are vulnerable.

Vulnerabilities can differ depending on a customer’s circumstances, whether it be ill health, a life event or other factors. Vulnerabilities can be temporary or permanent and it is important to understand that a customer can become vulnerable at any stage in their life.

Where can I get further information?


Further guidance can be found from the Finalised Guidance FCA Report, which aims to provide help for identifying, understanding and supporting vulnerable customers. The report also covers key areas for firms to explore.

How will this affect me?


Being unaware of a customer vulnerability could lead to poor outcomes for the client, which is why it’s so important that you understand your customer to identify if they require any additional support.

If you have identified that your customer is vulnerable the following steps may help you to support them, however we understand that vulnerabilities can take different forms. You will need to adapt your approach to cater to customers personal needs, so please treat the information below as a guide and not advice.

Please note that if your customer is not able to understand the information or advice provided to them, under no circumstances should you proceed with the sale.



It is important that your customer is allowed sufficient time to reflect on their options. Your customer may need additional time to fully consider any advice and recommendation before they make their decision. Vulnerable customers may need further support when discussing financial products.

Family & Friends

A vulnerable customer may prefer to have a close family member or friend present who can help support them through the interview process. Friends and family may be able to help customers understand the information provided, and could be a source of emotional support. This may not be suitable for everyone and it is important that you remain vigilant to any signs that a customer is being coerced into making a decision.

Power of attorney

Customers who feel they can no longer make financial decisions by themselves, may not be aware of the various options that exist to them, such as Power of Attorney*. Your client may wish to explore this option. Further information about Power of Attorney can be located on the NHS website.
*Leek BS do not lend on cases where a Power of Attorney is in place.

How we can help you


If you would like to speak to our team about any additional needs that your client has, please contact us on 0808 281 9309. You can also record the details of any extra support that your client needs on the application form, if your customer has given you their consent to do so. Disclosure won’t negatively affect their application, but it will help us to make sure we understand the customer’s needs.

We can provide documents in large print, audio or braille. If you require any of these for your customer, please contact us by calling the number above and we can arrange this for you.

Helpful advice and support is also available from many organisations and charities. We have collated some of them to help you. Click on the button below for more information.

Free Advice Agencies

If you'd like to notify us of your customer's vulnerability or additional support they need, simply let us know below or call 0808 281 9309