FCA reveals the financial experiences of people in the UK: A higher proportion of adults in the North West have no savings compared to rest of UK

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published the latest analysis of its Financial Lives survey. Today’s report puts the spotlight on the financial situation of people across the UK and highlights where in the UK people may be more vulnerable.

Today’s report finds a clear North-South divide when it comes to savings with more people in the North having no savings. The North West has the highest proportion of adults with no savings of any English region. 17% of people in the North West have no savings. This compares to 16% in the North East, but to 10% in the South West and 9% in the South East. Only 55% of adults in the North West have a savings account compared to the UK average of 59%.

Financial Lives is the FCA’s survey of nearly 13,000 adults and is the largest tracking survey in the UK specifically looking at consumers and their use of financial services.

The report shows a number of differences in how people in different areas of the UK, including the North West, experience financial services, such as:

  • The highest proportion of adults with characteristics of potential vulnerability of any region across England are found in the North West (55%). This compares to 46% in the South West.
  • Average mortgage debts for those people with a mortgage are lower in the North West than the UK overall (£104,000 vs. the UK average of £126,000).
  • 9% of adults in the North West are ‘in difficulty.’ This is similar to the UK average.
  • Satisfaction levels with financial circumstances in the North West are lower than the UK average. A higher proportion of people in the North West are dissatisfied with their financial circumstances (46% vs. the UK average of 42%).
  • On average, adults in the North West owe £3,300 in unsecured debt. This is similar to the average of £3,320 owed by adults in the rest of the UK.
  • The proportion of current retirees whose main income is the State Pension is above average in the North West (48% vs. the UK average of 44% across the UK)

Andrew Bailey, FCA Chief Executive, said: 'This survey shows just how different the experience of financial services is for consumers across the country. That’s important for us, as we shape financial services policy. But it is also important for firms, as they decide how best to serve their customers.'

The FCA has released weighted data tables which provide details of the survey findings so that local decision-makers and other organisations can use the information to consider what they can do to help support people who may be struggling financially. The FCA’s previous Financial Lives report told the financial story for six different age groups to show key themes at each life stage.

Notes to editors

  1. Read the FCA’s June 2018 report, The financial lives of consumers across the UK
  2. Read the Financial Lives 2017 report, Understanding the financial lives of UK adults
  3. Potential vulnerability refers to those adults who may suffer disproportionately if things go wrong because they have low financial resilience. It also covers those who may be less able to engage with their finances or with financial services. The reasons for this can vary from suffering a recent life event (such as redundancy, bereavement or divorce), low financial capability, or a health‑related problem that affects a person’s day‑to‑day activities a lot. Being defined as potentially vulnerable does not mean someone will necessarily suffer harm.
  4. ‘In difficulty’ refers to adults who are the least financially resilient, as they have already missed paying domestic bills or meeting credit commitments in at least three of the last six months.
  5. Over-indebtedness is defined as considering a heavy burden keeping up with domestic bills and credit commitments, or missing any credit commitments and/ or any domestic bills in any three or more of the last six months.
  6. On 1 April 2013, the FCA became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  7. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  8. Find out more information about the FCA.