Friday, September 29, 2017

Financial Conduct Authority Occasional Paper 31. Unfortunate title for an important document

The Financial Conduct Authority has been pondering the implications of ageing on the Finance Industry. I spent a couple of hours with them giving my take on the situation.

No doubt after much thinking, committee meetings, writing and re-writing a document has been launched that gives their findings and recommendations.

If you are in the Finance Industry then it is a 'must read'. If you have nothing to do with Finance but a lot to do with older consumers then you should make time to take a look.

The best thing about the document is also its biggest weakness. The range of subjects covered is admirable. There are some good ideas about the impact of physiological ageing and some interesting ideas about the demand for new products.

Because the document covers so much it is hard to digest. I can see a lot of people flipping through it, nod in agreement with a lot of what they read, and then put it in the digital dustbin.

The flow of the document screams out for a more logical framework. If I had been writing it I would have based it around the customer journey - but then that's my favourite way of looking at complex consumer related subjects.

As it is the document gives equal weight to a zillion different items. That is a mistake. During my time with the FCA I tried to get them to get to grips with the need for totally new products and ideas for how older people can release equity from their housing. The report does contain some thoughts but I think they are lost in the sea of other ideas.

There is no prioritisation about the issues the Finance Industry needs to address. That is a huge weakness of the document.

So well done the FCA. What you have produced is good stuff but I fear it will make little difference to how the Finance Industry behaves. I do hope I am wrong. Dick Stroud

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