Protecting consumers in vulnerable situations is a priority for firms and regulators including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), as well as being central to wider legal frameworks.

In our eleventh cohort of the award-winning Vulnerability Academy, we will be bringing this to life across twelve sessions including an induction, a graduation and ten interactive, practical and problem-solving online workshops.

Created by the Money Advice Trust’s Chris Fitch, Colin Trend and Zoe Medlock, the academy is built around case studies and presentations from leading practitioners and firms across (and beyond) financial services and is supported by facilitated analysis of approaches already being taken in practice.

The academy includes a coursework review for participants with the aim of helping participants embed vulnerability throughout the culture, policies and relevant customer journeys of their organisations.

The content is always evolving to keep it relevant with what is happening in the industry right now. Within this academy we will include sessions on financial vulnerability, cost of living, financial wellbeing, economic abuse, disability, addiction and other areas. We also have specialist sessions on AI, robotic processing and digital channel servicing and vulnerability.

The finalised Guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers, and the Consumer Duty, makes it clear that vulnerability remains at the very top of the FCA agenda. With cases of financial vulnerability continuing to increase as a result of the economic downturn, our Vulnerability Academy will ensure firms are prepared to meet the challenges posed to customers and colleagues.

The academy aims to support firms in delivering FG21/1, by showcasing a collection of best practice and giving participants the knowledge required to translate the FCA’s expectations into reality.

THE FCA CONSUMER DUTY

The FCA Consumer Duty requires firms to provide additional care to ensure they meet the needs of vulnerable customers, and the regulator’s objective for vulnerable consumers is to achieve “outcomes that are as good as everyone else”. During this academy we will explore the relationship between the Guidance and Duty, and where topics of vulnerability relate to the Duty, these will be covered in detail. For example, there is a strong emphasis on communications, metrics, KPI’s and outcomes in relation to vulnerability and Consumer Duty outcome reporting.

The overarching goal of the Vulnerability Academy, is to help firms:

  • Meet their legal and regulatory responsibilities
  • Embed vulnerability across their organisation from product and service design, lending and onboarding, customer service, data recording and analytics, collections, fraud and across all channels
  • Improve their reputation as a responsible organisation that treats customers fairly
  • Develop their own approach and focused plan to improve their own work on vulnerability
  • Expose customers to an exclusive blend of leading practitioner case studies and coursework review

The Vulnerability Academy is also available as an in-house programme, which means you can tailor it to exactly what you and your colleagues require. Pricing for in-house will depend on what is required. Enquire about this option by contacting our training team

Zoe Medlock

Zoe Medlock

Customer Vulnerability Expert, Money Advice Trust

Zoe Medlock is an expert in consumer vulnerability strategy and implementation. With over ten years’ experience in the sector, Zoe now works with the ...

Zoe Medlock is an expert in consumer vulnerability strategy and implementation. With over ten years’ experience in the sector, Zoe now works with the Money Advice Trust team to help firms improve their approach to customer vulnerability. This includes assessing firms against the FCA's evolving expectations and developing and delivering colleague training.

Zoe specialises in mental health and, as well as working with the Money Advice Trust, she also supports the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute to assess firms against their Mental Health Accessible Standard. In 2020 Zoe developed the Trust’s Mental Health training.

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Colin Trend

Colin Trend

Lead Trainer, Money Advice Trust

Colin is the lead tutor with the Money Advice Trust on their vulnerability programme, assisting both in the UK and overseas. With Chris Fitch, he co-a...

Colin is the lead tutor with the Money Advice Trust on their vulnerability programme, assisting both in the UK and overseas. With Chris Fitch, he co-authored the Trust’s vulnerability guidance for advice agencies, launched by the charity with the backing of a range of organisations across the advice sector in June 2016.

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Chris Fitch

Chris Fitch

Vulnerability Lead Consultant, Money Advice Trust

He is Vulnerability Lead at the Money Advice Trust and a Research Fellow at the Personal Finance Research Centre, University of Bristol.  Previou...

He is Vulnerability Lead at the Money Advice Trust and a Research Fellow at the Personal Finance Research Centre, University of Bristol.  Previously he was Head of Policy and Research Fellow at the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The programme that Chris leads aims to result in outputs which are ‘short on the obvious, and long on the practical’ – and with colleagues, he has written practical guidance for firms and staff on both effectively working with customers who are in vulnerable situations, and also looking after their own wellbeing and working environment following such contact.

In 2017, Chris was named in Credit Strategy’s Top 50 influencers in the creditor sector, and in 2015 he received the Martin Williams award for contribution to the UK credit industry (awarded each year by Credit Today) for the programme’s work on mental health, vulnerability, and financial services.

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The Vulnerability Academy is for people who want to gain the skills, knowledge and relationships to address the most challenging issues and scenarios and meet regulatory requirements.

  • Specialist vulnerability colleagues
  • Risk and control decision makers
  • Human resource and learning and development professionals
  • Managers responsible or working in contact centres
  • Compliance leads
  • Mortgage lenders
  • Card issuers
  • Banks
  • Credit unions
  • Payment providers
  • Wealth Managers
  • Building Societies
  • Loan providers
  •  Any lending firm that is FCA regulated

Graduates also enjoy lifetime membership of the Vulnerability Academy’s Alumni network, giving them access to a wealth of ongoing insight and exclusive events, as well as the support of a community of experts engaged in driving the same outcomes in their everyday roles.

With more than 160 graduates now having completed the programme, this network brings together our UK and international academy graduates from all cohorts to learn from each other as we deliver change, hear directly from thought leaders in the vulnerability space and see the impact of pilot projects from across sectors to support customers and benefit from a series of exclusive online and physical events.

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