FTSE-listed specialist UK financial services company Just and the International Longevity Centre (ILC) launched the Innovating for Ageing project to identify the biggest risk issues facing the credit industry and older people with physical disability, serious illness, dementia or financially excluded.
Afterwards, innovators and entrepreneurs will be invited to devise and share solutions to these challenges.
Just Group was created by the merger of Just Retirement Group and Partnership Assurance and in partnership with the ILC-UK plans to drive the initiative through events and awards, identify key lessons and report back on policy implications.
David Sinclair, director of ILC-UK, said: “Our ageing society is a driver for increasing levels of vulnerability – more people with dementia, with sight and hearing loss, and multiple long-term health conditions, for example.
“This project aims to seek out technological and policy innovations and solutions, with an aim to removing barriers and ultimately rethinking the products and services that are available on the market. We have already had lots of interest in the project and we are looking forward to receiving input from many people and organisations.”
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said the project will be a rallying point for those looking to rise to the regulator’s challenge to the industry to design better products and services.
The need is clear and demonstrated by research from the Financial Conduct Authority suggesting half of UK consumers – more than 25m people – currently show “one or more characteristics of potential vulnerability”.
The regulator published its ‘our future approach’ to consumers document which laid out expectations that firms must ensure sales are clear, fair and not misleading, with plenty of product choice. It emphasised quality and value and that vulnerable consumers must be protected from ‘harm.’
Submissions are being sought ahead of the 29 April deadline. See the Innovating for Ageing website, launched in February for the submission form.
A further announcement inviting innovators and entrepreneurs to submit competition applications will follow.