People are living longer, but are banks and other financial service providers doing enough to meet the needs of an ageing population?

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That’s the question being asked by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which today took what it calls an “important first step” in talking to consumers, companies and regulators about a range of issues.

The FCA has launched an Ageing Population Discussion Paper, which it hopes will kick-start a wider conversation about the problems older people face when accessing financial services.

Banks and other service providers face new challenges as the population of the UK gets older - Image by Barry Barnes/

It said the project will look specifically at the way financial services meet the needs of older consumers and will lead to the FCA publishing a series of recommendations for future action in 2017.

Tracey McDermott, acting chief executive of the FCA, said: “The number of people aged over 65 in the UK is expected to increase by 1.1m in the next five years.

“There is a real and urgent challenge for the financial services sector to develop new and innovative products to meet the needs of our changing population.

“The publication of this discussion paper is intended to stimulate debate and discussion about these needs and how to meet them.”

Ms McDermott said the financial industry will ultimately have to take the lead and provide the levels of protections customers need.

But, she said, the FCA still has a “key part to play” in ensuring it encourages appropriate innovation.

New and innovative products will be needed to meet the need of an ageing population - Image by pixinoo/

“This work will help us and the industry to develop our approach with the benefit of insights from others, in particular those representing the end consumers of these services.”

The discussion paper looks at how older consumers assess their own needs, accessing financial products and services and the role of financial companies.

Experts from organisations including Age UKthe British Bankers’ Association, the Money Advice Service and the Financial Services Consumer Panel contributed to the document.

But the FCA wants members of the public to have their say, and is giving people until Friday 15 April to submit their comments.

The Ageing Population Discussion Paper is available to read on the FCA’s website.