The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its latest analysis of its Financial Lives Survey.
The survey reveals the financial experiences of people across the UK. It shows that overall satisfaction with financial circumstances is particularly low in London.
The aim of the survey is to shine a spotlight on the financial situations of people in the UK. It highlights those who may be more vulnerable.
The report says that just 16% of Londoners are highly satisfied with their financial circumstances, compare with a national average of 21%.
The FCA tracked nearly 13,000 adults during its survey, particularly looking at consumers and the way they use financial services.
FCA Chief Executive, Andrew Bailey, said: “This survey shows just how different the experience of financial services is for consumers across the country. That’s important for us, as we shape financial services policy. But it is also important for firms, as they decide how best to serve their customers.”
The report shows a number of differences in how people in different areas of the UK, including London, experience financial services, such as:
In London, a lower proportion of people use consumer credit products to borrow money compared with the UK average – 40% compared to the UK average of 46%.
The proportion of adults in London with characteristics of potential vulnerability is lower than the national average – 47% compared to the UK average of 50%.
London has the highest level of over-indebtedness compared to the rest of England. The FCA describes “over-indebted” as finding it a heavy burden to keep up with bills and credit commitments. 17% of Londoners are over-indebted compared to 14% across England.
4% of Londoners do not have a bank account compared to the UK average of 3%. One recent statistic reveals that 1.3 million adults nationwide do not have access to a bank account, and London alone accounts for 20% of the population without a bank account.
34% of adults in London have no private pension provision. This is compared to the UK average of 31%.
The State Pension is the main source of income in retirement for 53% of retirees in London. This is compared to the UK average of 44%.
A greater proportion of adults rent in London (42%). This is compared to the national average of 29%.
There is a much greater proportion (23%) of people with a mortgage in London whose mortgage debt is at least four times their household income, (£202,000). This is the highest of all the nations and regions of the UK, with the North East being the lowest with only 4%. The lowest average mortgage debts are carried by adults in the North East (£82,000).
On average, adults in London owe £3,280 in unsecured debt. This is similar to the UK average of £3,320. However, 11% of outer Londoners owe £10,000 or more in unsecured debt, just behind some areas of Scotland.
According to the FCA, household income is the highest in London of any region and much higher than the UK average (£63,000 vs £46,000), and London residents are also likely to have higher qualifications and fewer health issues.
However, levels of saving in the capital are below the national average – 28% of adults in London have no savings or investment products. Two thirds (65%) of UK adults have no life insurance or other protection cover, more so in London (72%) and in core cities (70%).
According to one personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Sarah Coles,
“The highest average household earnings in the country (£63,000) don’t make up for the cost of housing and higher prices, so Londoners are working to pay their debts – and have little time to build up savings, investments or pensions. It’s no wonder that only 16% in the city are very happy with their financial lives (compared with the UK average of 21%).
“City-dwellers around the country suffer the same problems – to a lesser extent. More people in urban areas borrow money (77% of people compared to 68% in rural areas), more have been overdrawn in the past 12 months (27% compared to 20%), and more carry debt on a credit card (20% as opposed to 14%). It’s one of the reasons why they struggle to free up money to save for retirement.”
The FCA has released weighted data tables which provide details of the survey findings so that local decision-makers and other organisations can use the information to consider what they can do to help support people who may be struggling financially.