The Personal Finance Society has published a broad, practical toolkit to help members embed a culture focused on meeting client needs, consistent with the Financial Conduct Authority’s new Consumer Duty regulations.
The toolkit comprises analytical tools, templates and checklists that have been designed with compliance experts who have assisted firms to prepare for the introduction of Consumer Duty. In combination, the resources provide a coherent presentation of the activities that will help any firm make sure it is compliant with the new rules.
With the new rules coming into force 31 July, the majority of firms will already be compliant. The toolkit is intended to help firms develop beyond minimum requirements, and will be added to post-implementation.
The tools being released today include:
- Gap Analysis
- Implementation Plan
- Interim & Ongoing Review
- Fair Value Statement: Initial Advice
- Fair Value Statement: Ongoing Advice
- Fee Divergence Register
- Vulnerable Client Checklist
- Vulnerable Client Register
Some of the templates are pre-populated with example answers, drawn from real-life scenarios. Firms can use these examples as the basis for their wordings for Consumer Duty documentation, or treat them as a rough guide when completing the template.
The toolkit also contains a vulnerable client checklist and register, due to the importance placed on the treatment of vulnerable customers. As noted in FCA communications: ‘Firms need to take extra care when dealing with consumers with characteristics of vulnerability, as set out in the rules for the Duty and also in our Guidance on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers.’
The tools being released today extend the PFS Consumer Duty Resource Hub, which was introduced to help firms prepare for implementation of the new FCA rules. The PFS will be rolling out further resources over the autumn of 2023, which will include self-assessment tools for individuals, diagnostic materials for firms and new learning modules. All resources are being developed with the profession, for the profession, to most effectively help firms embed the principles driving Consumer Duty rules their workplace culture.
Daniel Williams, PFS Board Director, said: “I’m delighted to see the PFS introduce these new resources to help firms of all sizes embed the FCA’s Consumer Duty rules into their business culture. The outcomes expected by the FCA are closely aligned with the PFS Code of Ethics, and I am keen – both as a PFS Board member and practicing Financial Planner – to help build sector understanding and drive public confidence in professional standards for the benefit of all financial planning clients and the wider public.
Carla Brown, PFS Board Director, said: “The new analytical tools, templates, and checklists have been meticulously crafted to enable PFS members to navigate the regulatory landscape with confidence and ensure that consumer interests are at the heart of their business operations. By providing comprehensive guidance on upholding consumer rights, instilling ethical principles, and enhancing transparency, the PFS seeks to bolster consumer protection and elevate the overall integrity of the financial planning sector.
These valuable resources will serve as a crucial reference point for financial firms, facilitating compliance with the Consumer Duty rules while fostering a culture of trust, professionalism, and responsibility within the profession which is something we all welcome.”