A COALITION of financial services organisations, consumers, industry experts, fintech businesses, academics and charities are coming together to create new ways to better serve vulnerable customers.
The Financial Conduct Authority estimates around half of adults in the UK are potentially vulnerable. While the figure might seem surprising at first, it’s explained by the many drivers of vulnerability: from ill health and life events, such as a relationship breakdown or the loss of a loved one to resilience and capability issues, like not having enough savings to cover an emergency bill or poor literacy and numeracy skills. These situations might negatively impact their financial wellbeing or even trap them into problem debt.
Leading digital services company Sopra Steria put meaningful work at the top of its 2020 agenda by launching Chemistry, a programme which enables innovative and creative people to work collaboratively with businesses to solve the biggest consumer challenges using technology. It’s aimed at changing the shape of our financial services landscape by building an eco-system centred on representing the voice of the vulnerable customer.
Sopra Steria is inviting industry peers such as banks, life and pensions companies and building societies to work with fintechs, technology businesses and industry experts to solve the biggest challenges customers experience in their financial life. The priorities are set by a panel of consumer advocates, charities and academics, breaking down the barriers between the corporates and citizens to deliver change in an area that is causing misery to thousands.
The initial focus of those industry wide programme is on preventing or better serving those who are burdened with over-indebtedness, income volatility and low savings. Sopra Steria has been working with The University of Edinburgh and Fintech Scotland to identify the challenges in the customer experience and ensuring a practical pragmatic approach is developed to solve them.
Rob McElroy, Head of Financial Services at Sopra Steria, said:
“At some point in our lives most of us will be financially vulnerable. Serving these customers fairly is no longer optional and we want to be at the forefront of driving positive industry change.
“There already are some strong ideas in the industry about how we can make the lives of such customers better, but so far not enough actions has been taken. This is recognised by the regulator and financial services companies themselves. Given the many shapes and forms of this problem, the challenge as been identifying first steps in delivering real-life solutions.
“This is why at the centre of our eco-system are consumer advocates who are essential in directing us to the most prominent issues. We encourage established financial services organisations to partner with technology companies that already have a working product and experts who have a track record of successful delivery. Together, we can make a real impact at pace.” All banks, life & pensions companies and building societies are welcome to join our eco-system by the end of February.