Today’s older consumers and the ageing population of tomorrow represent both challenges and opportunities for financial services. We have launched a project that looks specifically at the way in which financial services meet the needs of older consumers, with a view to publishing a series of recommendations for future action in 2017. We would like to invite collaboration and communication from our stakeholders on issues relevant for older consumers, so that together we can design recommendations that improve market outcomes for these consumers.
People are living longer lives on an unprecedented scale. In the next five years, the number of consumers aged over 65 in the UK is expected to increase by 1.1 million, and the proportion of people aged over 100 will rise by 40%. It is well established that those aged 85 and over represent the fastest growing segment of the UK population.
At the FCA, our aim is to ensure that consumers have access to products and services that are well-governed and deliver value for money in competitive markets. As older consumers represent a growing proportion of the UK population, it is now more important than ever that we deepen our understanding about how markets work for older consumers, so we can make recommendations that improve outcomes for these cohorts.
We are keen to facilitate the debate about what older people need from financial services providers, so we are asking for your thoughts.
We have launched our work on the Ageing Population with the Discussion Paper because we know that the FCA can only be part of the solution to the myriad of issues raised. This paper features contributions from a range of interested individuals and organisations on what older people need from financial services providers and some of the barriers that might get in the way.
The breadth of issues raised in this Discussion Paper highlight the wide range of issues relevant for older consumers, and, in particular, one message comes through loud and clear: older consumers are diverse and one size does not fit all for our ageing population. We believe that there is certainly some work to be done to get to a place where markets work well for these cohorts.
The views expressed in this paper are the authors’ own and should not be interpreted as representing the views of the Financial Conduct Authority.
This Discussion Paper is only ever going to scratch the surface of the issues presented by demographic change, and we fully acknowledge that there will be many interesting and important aspects which we have not covered in this Discussion Paper. The period for responding to this paper closed on 15 April 2016, but if you would still like to comment on the issues raised, you can get in touch with the project team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will use the information gathered through this Discussion Paper to help us prioritise a programme of work that looks specifically at the Ageing Population. This will be supplemented by further research, which will be scoped in the second quarter of 2016, and will take account of existing research and recommendations conducted by our stakeholders.
We will combine this with our own analysis of current regulatory priorities to focus the scope of the project on particular financial products or services.
All of this work will help us to develop an FCA Strategy on the Ageing Population, which we will launch in 2017. This strategy will make recommendations about how we can improve outcomes for older people, including whether regulatory settings need further review.
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