Consumer Access: Financial Services — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 6th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Chair, Treasury Committee 1:30 pm, 6th June 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman. He is a legend for speaking in so many debates in this House, and I would feel rather excluded if he were not here today. I am grateful to him for raising those issues. He is a passionate advocate for his constituents, and has raised a number of cases with me as Chair of the Treasury Committee. He is right that a broad definition of vulnerability is important. People will be vulnerable at different times of their lives. He knows that in a separate inquiry we have been looking at the finances of small and medium-sized enterprises, many of which are almost no bigger than retail customers, and may be exposed to the same vulnerabilities.

My understanding on the definition is that the FCA has published its consultation and is asking about vulnerability. In the inquiry, we wanted to ensure that when we talk about vulnerability, we are not limited to a narrow definition, and that when those working in financial services think about vulnerability, they do so in the broadest possible sense, realising that people come in and out of being vulnerable.

In the case of the hon. Gentleman’s constituents, it is worth re-asking the question about how customers appear to those who advise them. We must also recognise that some people will not identify themselves as vulnerable. That is another thing that we heard during the roundtable. People do not want to tell their bank that they are vulnerable because they are concerned that it might lead to higher charges, or even losing an account or not being offered insurance.