The Consumer Duty one month on
Where are firms up to?As trusted governance, risk, and compliance advisors to financial services firms, we have been supporting businesses across the spectrum of the financial services market in implementing the Consumer Duty. In our conversations with clients, we have seen that:
- Most firms we have worked with have partially or fully embedded Consumer Duty, including the necessary policies, procedures, governance and training.
- Most firms we supported have been able to successfully implement the Consumer Duty and are now processing and reviewing the sets of Management Information (MI) selected to monitor the firm’s performance against the new Customer Outcomes. It was encouraging for us to see relevant MI produced, but we would remind firms that MI and data is only as good as the decisions and actions taken based on it.
- We have noticed that some firms are struggling with the scale of change required to their business processes, oversight and monitoring frameworks.
- Some are confused over the extent to which they need to apply this where they are not directly involved with retail clients and find the application of the fair value outcome most challenging.
- Some still have some work to do to embed the duty into BAU.
What the FCA expectsThe Consumer Duty is now in place and it is expected that the FCA will be gathering information to support its assessment of the extent of firms’ compliance with Principle 12, the cross-cutting rules and the achievement of the four outcomes for retail clients.
In his speech “Countdown to the Consumer Duty”, given on 10th May 2023, Sheldon Mills of the FCA commented that;
“Our supervisory and enforcement approach will be proportionate to the harm – or risk of harm – to consumers. We will prioritise the most serious breaches and act swiftly and assertively where we find evidence of harm or risk of harm to consumers. In some cases, firms can expect us to take robust action, such as interventions or investigations, along with possible disciplinary sanctions.
The Duty is outcomes-based, and a key part of the Duty is that firms understand and evidence the outcomes their customers are receiving. This enables them to monitor their compliance and to tackle potential breaches at an early stage. We want firms to harness the benefits of data and technology to improve their services and understand the outcomes they achieve for their customers.
We understand that some firms will need to continually improve in this area. We will be pragmatic and open in working with them on the way they use data and analytics to demonstrate compliance. This is new territory for us too and we will listen to feedback and adapt our approach where necessary.”
This suggests that the FCA will be seeking evidence of the application of the Consumer Duty principle (Principle 12) plus the related cross-cutting and outcomes-based rules and that enforcement action will be a possibility in the most severe cases of non-compliance. However, the FCA has also announced its ability to listen to firms and it does accept that proportionality in firms’ approaches to the Duty is important – see.
It is not too late for firms to consider and work on their Consumer Duty arrangements, and indeed they may wish to consider carrying out post-implementation reviews intended to secure the continual improvement Sheldon Mills refers to.
Have you implemented the FCA Consumer Duty?
Thistle Initiatives has supported firms for over 10 years as a trusted FCA compliance and regulatory advisor. In addition to assisting, you as-and-when, our team of compliance specialists can serve as your right hand in meeting and complying with regulations. We understand the importance of staying up-to-date and compliant and are dedicated to providing the guidance and support needed to do so.
Our expert team has been making sure our clients are prepared for this day and are well equipped to thrive under the new regulation. But the work does not stop now.
Our teams across Investments, Payment Services, Credit, Mortgages, Digital Assets and Insurance sectors can help with:
- Helping you to evidence Consumer Duty is embedded in your firm
- Guidance on what the FCA is likely to ask for
- An assessment of your Consumer Duty arrangements
- Implementation support or post-implementation reviews for the early stages of the Consumer Duty
- Reviews of products and services in line with tougher PROD requirements
- Advising you on your necessary data gathering and reporting
- Fair price and value assessments
- Providing or reviewing Consumer Duty policy documentation
- Ongoing compliance support, ensuring your questions are always answered.
If you're looking for more specific guidance on the FCA Consumer Duty, or want to purchase our Consumer Duty policy documentation right away, get in touch with one of our expert consultants by calling 0207 436 0630 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.