The Later Life Academy (LLA) has submitted its response to the FCA Discussion Paper (DP16-1), ‘Ageing Population and Financial Services’.
The Paper was issued by the regulator in February this year and focused specifically at the ways in which financial services meets the needs of older consumers. It has invited collaboration and communication with all stakeholders on issues relevant for older consumers with the view to publishing a series of recommendations for future action in 2017.
In its response the LLA identifies a number of key areas it would like the FCA to focus on including:
- Enabling consumers to accumulate adequate wealth to fund older age needs.
- Facilitating a holistic approach to wealth drawdown in older age.
- Raising awareness of the risks older people face for example, living longer than expected, care needs, and cognitive decline.
- Providing adequate protection for vulnerable elderly persons from those who may wish to take advantage of them.
The Academy also expressed a number of views it wishes the FCA to take into account and address:
- While segmentation by age and wealth is essential to understanding market needs, the LLA believes that when it comes to an individual there needs to be a recognition of their uniqueness. This is particularly true when it comes to age which should be determined by the individual’s biological age and outlook instead of their calendar date of birth.
- Behaviours are changing and will continue to change. The LLA believes it is important that the financial services industry provides the products and services that meet the needs of consumers. The regulator therefore needs to keep abreast of those changes and react accordingly.
- The workplace gives access to many individuals approaching retirement and provides opportunities to secure engagement. However, the LLA believes this should not be to the cost of the growing number of self-employed individuals (now numbering 4.6 million) or those who work for SMEs (currently 60% of private sector employees).
- Older consumers do not live in one regulatory silo. The Academy has argued that rather than needing the help of a number of advisers from different regulated activities, what they really require is a holistic one-stop shop that meets all their needs.
- Financial decisions become more complicated as people age as there is more to take account of, and the Academy is also concerned that the increased number of risks are also taken account of.
Bob Champion, chairman of the Later Life Academy, said: “The Later Life Academy is pleased that the FCA has taken on the mantle of addressing the issues raised for the financial services industry of an ageing population. There are many issues bubbling under the surface in getting the right support, information, and advice to older people and this has to be a central tenet of any regulatory response, and the drafting of proposals. We acknowledge this is a complex area that requires deep thought and an inclusive debate, which is why the Academy is looking forward to working with the FCA on this project.”