The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that 50% of UK adults (25.6m) display one or more characteristics that signal potential vulnerability, meaning they may be at increased risk of harm, or would suffer disproportionately if harm occurred.
The regulator said the percentage of potentially vulnerable adults was approximately the same for all age groups except for those over 75, where there was an increasing risk of vulnerability. 69% of over 75s were potentially vulnerable, as were 77% of over 85s.
The highest proportion (77%) of those with these characteristics are among the unbanked, and among the unemployed who are looking for work. Women account for the larger number of those with these characteristics, compared with men (46% or 11.7 million), as 53% of UK women (or 13.9 million) are potentially vulnerable.
The FCA made these findings in the results of its Financial Lives Survey 2017, in which it collected responses from just under 13,000 UK consumers aged 18 and over. It said the aim of the survey was to provide the FCA with unique insights into people’s experiences of retail financial products and services to help it meet its objectives.
The survey also found almost a quarter (24%) of UK adults had little or no confidence in managing their money, with 46% of adults reporting low knowledge about financial matters. Young people (aged 18-24) were generally the least confident and knowledgeable about managing their money and financial matters.
Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the survey. The findings give us a wealth of information which will be used to increase our knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting consumers and how to best protect them. The data gathered will be invaluable in helping the FCA prioritise our work. We also hope that the research will provide valuable insight for other organisations focusing on consumers and finance.”