Understanding Vulnerability

Any one of us could find ourselves in vulnerable circumstances – and we want you to know that our advisers, coaches and support teams are trained to support you.


The “V-word”, vulnerability, is a lot more widespread than many of us realise. 

Many of us have spent days or nights worried about money, the future, our job and more. Vulnerability, however, goes a lot deeper and also considers our financial, mental and physical wellbeing. The FCA defines a vulnerable client as: 

“Someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is especially susceptible to harm, particularly when a firm is not acting with appropriate levels of care”

Vulnerable circumstances

There are four key things which may increase the risk of being vulnerable:

  • Health: health conditions or illnesses that affect the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks
  • Life events: major life events such as bereavement, job loss or relationship breakdown
  • Resilience: low ability to withstand emotional or financial shocks
  • Capability: low knowledge of financial matters or low confidence in managing money (financial capability) or low capability in other relevant areas such as literacy or digital skills

Characteristics of these four key drivers are shown in the table below.

Physical disabilityRetirementInadequate or erratic incomeLow knowledge or confidence in managing finances
Short or long-term illnessBereavementOver indebtednessPoor literacy, numeracy skills
Hearing or visual impairmentIncome shockLow savingsPoor English language
Mental health conditionRelationship breakdownLow emotional resiliencePoor digital skills
AddictionDomestic abuse (including economic control)Learning difficulties
Low mental capacityCaring responsibilityNo or low access to help and support
Other circumstances (care, asylum, human trafficking, slavery, convictions)

Any of the above could occur at any one time, or several could occur all at once. When we serve our customers, we do our best to take these signals into account and adapt our approach as much as possible.

Octopus Money has measures in place to distinguish between actually vulnerable and potentially vulnerable consumers. We also consider if a vulnerability is permanent (e.g. a physical disability or life-limiting illness) or if a vulnerability is hopefully temporary in nature (e.g. emotional or financial resilience following a divorce). 

Finding support

Talking about the circumstances around vulnerability can be hard – our teams are trained to work with you, discuss options, external support (e.g. charities) and other ways to help.

In addition, we also have access to expertise from within the Octopus Group. This includes Octopus Legacy, who specialise in wills, probate and power of attorney, and Amicable, who specialise in divorce and relationship breakdown. 

We will record any specific requests from customers to ensure that we continue to meet your needs in any ongoing contact.

We encourage all of our clients to stay in regular contact with us and to inform us of any changes in their needs. We will also proactively keep in contact with all clients where there is an ongoing agreement and will ensure that we continue to meet each individual’s needs and ensure they are treated fairly.

We recommend that customers be scam-aware and where they are able to access the internet, visit the Friends Against Scams website at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk where they will find a wealth of information. Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.

Octopus Money Limited is an appointed representative of Octopus Investments Limited which is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT. Registered in England & Wales under No. 14069098.

Octopus Money is a trading name of TW11 Wealth Management Limited. Registered in England and Wales (No. 10339119). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our Financial Services Register number is 763630.

As with all investing, your capital is at risk. If you choose to invest with Octopus Money, the value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.