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The Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce published its initial report
“All customers deserve to be treated fairly and sensitively.” Those comments were made by BBA Chief Executive Anthony Browne as the Financial Services Vulnerability Taskforce published its initial report. The Taskforce was set up with a view to improving the experience of vulnerable financial services customers and their relatives.
Drawing on the expertise of financial services firms, consumer groups and charities the Taskforce came up with nine key recommendations which financial services firms should adopt in order to help to improve the outcome for those in vulnerable circumstances. These recommendations include providing a sensible and flexible response, providing access to specialist help and undertaking customer focused reviews. Interestingly the guidelines also recognise the part which family and friends have to play when customers are in vulnerable circumstances, recommending that at customer’s request firms should also make it easy for family or friends to manage the finances of vulnerable customers.
Whilst the guidelines are aimed at financial services firms, they also have implications for other businesses. For example it’s not just financial services customers who should be protected from scams; whilst customers in many business sectors, or indeed in the health service, would welcome any initiative which resulted in their not having to repeat their details over and over again.
The Taskforce’s recommendations represent an important step forward in the way in which financial services firms treat customers in potentially vulnerable circumstances. However, it is an indictment on the industry that such a task force is required at all. Only when all customers, vulnerable or not, are treated fairly and with attention to their individual circumstances can the sector truly say that it is putting customers first.