A new Consumer Duty - response to the FCA from Citizens Advice
At Citizens Advice, we offer free, independent, and confidential advice and information to anyone who needs it. In the past year, we have supported people with more than 130,000 financial services and financial capability issues. We continue to see clients struggling to manage the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, with many facing significant financial difficulties and debt and arrears. In 2021, we helped 70,000 people with debt assessments, with debts totalling £693 million, or £6000 on average per person. We expect the scale of the problem is far larger. The current cost of living crisis caused by rising energy bills, inflation and reduced benefit payments, is putting even more people in financial risk. Our research shows that even living on a minimal budget, more than 3 million households would be unable to cover basic living costs over winter.
In this context, we support the FCA’s aim to improve the level of consumer protection in retail financial markets, and welcome the revised proposals for the Consumer Duty. This is a vital opportunity to mitigate against consumer harms and ensure all consumers, including vulnerable consumers, receive effective support. To deliver on these aims, the Consumer Duty needs to be underpinned by clear, unambiguous rules, effective monitoring and proactive enforcement.