July 31st saw Consumer Duty come into force bringing about the biggest regulatory change that most people in the financial services industry have ever seen.
So, now Consumer Duty is here – how big a change has it meant for businesses on a day-to-day basis? IFA Magazine asked a selection of advisers and brokers for their thoughts.
Scott Taylor-Barr, Financial Adviser at Barnsdale Financial Management: “Consumer Duty is one of the biggest changes to the financial services landscape we’ve seen in years. However, it’s important to remember that it applies to the WHOLE of financial services and many of those it is aimed at are not mortgage brokers, insurance advisers, or financial planners. Generally speaking, the impact of the changes for many of us in those types of businesses is around documenting processes and practices that we all did anyway, it’s asking leaders of these businesses to think carefully about their target market and the value they bring and that proposition is delivered fairly across all customers, but above all else documenting and proving that is the case.”
Mark Stallard, Director and Advisor at House and Holiday Home Mortgages: “Short but honest answer… We’ve always done what’s right for the client so the only real change has been ensuring that we’re documenting all of the conversations that happen to be able to evidence things. That’s it. Having said that, if there are any other changes we’ve seen — it’s that the CD guidelines make sure we look harder for perhaps hidden vulnerabilities — and in that way, it’s a benefit for customer and broker. A win-win.”
Kundan Bhaduri, Property Developer and Portfolio Landlord at The Kushman Group: “Consumer Duty will mark an important milestone in the day-to-day operations of most FS businesses. While there are no specific directives for residential landlord companies (we are already heavily regulated), our focus continues to be prioritising and protecting the well-being of our tenants above all else. At long last, the FCA has woken up to the fact that ensuring transparency, fairness, and accessibility of services is paramount to this country’s success in Financial Services, which is one of our biggest export industries.
“However be under no illusion that Consumer Duty will place additional legal obligations on businesses, increasing compliance costs and administrative burdens. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, will struggle to keep up with the regulatory requirements, diverting resources away from innovation and growth.”