The Financial Inclusion Commission and Fair By Design are launching a campaign calling on the Government to introduce a cross-cutting “must have regard” to financial inclusion for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Everybody should have access to financial products and services that meet their needs over the course of their lifetime. For this to happen the market needs to be able to accommodate the specific needs of people on low incomes and with certain characteristics, such as those with a physical disability or experiencing poor mental health – regularly referred to as consumer vulnerabilities.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a range of powers and tools that it uses to regulate the market which include its statutory statutory objectives as well as the Treating Customers Fairly outcomes and its Public Sector Equality Duty. We want a clearer remit placed on the regulator to ensure it routinely and properly explores financial inclusion issues across its work, allowing greater clarity on unintended consequences, the best interventions needed to ensure financial inclusion, as well as who is best placed to act. This will sometimes be the FCA, the government, or a mixture of institutions working together.

What we are calling for

The FCA should be required to have a cross-cutting “must have regard” to financial inclusion. This should include a statutory duty to report to Parliament annually on:

  • the state of financial inclusion in the UK
  • measures that the FCA has taken, and is planning to take, in order to advance financial inclusion
  • recommended additional measures which could be taken by government and other public bodies to promote financial inclusion.

You can find out more about the campaign, read and sign our open letter here.