Aegon launches three guides highlighting how advisers are responding to the Consumer Duty
- Three key areas – how advice firms are demonstrating value, supporting consumer understanding and evidencing and monitoring good outcomes
- Alongside insights into what advised customers see as key areas of value
As part of its commitment to working closely with advisers on implementing the Consumer Duty, Aegon has launched three new guides with NextWealth. As the 31st July deadline fast approaches, collaboration across the distribution chain will be key to delivering benefits not just to consumers but for the industry.
The FCA has published a huge volume of supporting material alongside the formal rules and guidance. But with the scope covering the wide and diverse retail financial services industry and the focus being on outcomes not rules, many questions are arising, with answers often open to different interpretations. So, it’s really important for advisers to know not just what the FCA rules say, but how their industry peers are interpreting and responding to these.
Through research conducted by NextWealth, the Aegon guides detail how adviser firms are responding, sharing views and including where and how business models or processes are changing.
To accompany the adviser research, the guides include consumer research findings on where they see the value of adviser services, which may help advisers best articulate the value of the advice services they offer.
Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:
“From the many conversations we’re having with adviser firms on the Consumer Duty, it has become clear that alongside reading the FCA’s extensive material, advisers get real value from understanding how other firms like them are interpreting the requirements in practice. This includes where and how business models are changing on specific areas of focus. Common themes include demonstrating value, communicating with customers and the big question of evidencing you’re meeting the Consumer Duty.
“This is why we asked NextWealth to explore these in more detail with advisers and to produce these three guides.
“Regarding demonstrating value, the Consumer Duty offers the opportunity for advisers to show just how wide reaching that value is, stretching far beyond a product recommendation or investment performance.
“When it comes to supporting consumer understanding, there are many dimensions from explaining the advice service, to the benefits of recommended products and the overarching link to meeting the client’s financial objectives and protecting from foreseeable harm. But complex regulatory requirements and jargon can get in the way.
“A key area of change for all firms will be evidencing and monitoring good customer outcomes. The nature of the firm’s business will influence the ‘right’ suite of MI with lots to be learnt from sharing ideas and experiences. Market data and insights gained from clients will not only assist Consumer Duty compliance but help provide an even more relevant and valued service for their clients.
“We hope the guides will provide adviser firms with that extra support as implementation approaches as they include many practical tips and questions for adviser firms to consider.”
Heather Hopkins, Managing Director of NextWealth said:
“When Consumer Duty was first announced, many advisers believed it would be a simple extension to Treating Customers Fairly. It’s become apparent that it’s much more than that. Everyone involved in financial services needs to address the regulation, but financial advisers are in the eye of the storm. These guides aim to simplify and contextualise key information, to make it easier for advisers to take action to be compliant.”
The guides are available on the Aegon Consumer Duty Hub.