Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA warns on client communication

FCA warns on client communication

The Financial Conduct Authority has promised flexibility when monitoring how firms contact clients during the coronavirus lockdown, but has warned on vulnerable customers not being able to use online services. 

In an update on its website today (May 13) the regulator acknowledged some firms may not be able to fully comply with its rules on post and paper-based processes during the pandemic, particularly in line with normal timescales. 

Although the watchdog promised to approach these issues with "flexibility" it warned it still expected firms to send communications to clients in a "timely manner".

The FCA warned it was particularly concerned about the demographic of clients, such as vulnerable customers, who could not use online services as a substitute to paper communications. 

The regulator said: "Firms should demonstrate to us any steps they have taken to mitigate the impact of non-compliance with postal and paper processes and then return to full compliance as soon as practical.

"Firms should try to ensure that all customers are not disadvantaged because of delays and make particular efforts to contact customers who do not use online services."

In March the watchdog warned financial advisers not to work from an office or meet clients face-to-face during the coronavirus lockdown, instead expecting clients to be supported online or over the phone. 

The FCA is facing its own delays as a result of the global pandemic and associated lockdown, admitting in April it could be "months" before it was able to address some of its regulatory priorities.

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