Commenting on the FCA’s confirmation of the Consumer Duty final rules, Andrew Strange, Director, Financial Services Regulatory Insights at PwC UK, said:
“For many financial services firms, the short delay to the consumer duty implementation deadline will be welcome. Yet, it’s important for firms to keep up the momentum on their preparations. The FCA is only giving firms an additional three months to implement changes to products and services that are currently on sale, which is a challenging time frame, given the extent of the changes being introduced.
“The delay also underscores the nature and scale of the response that the FCA expects the industry to deliver. The regulator has made it clear that the consumer duty marks a ‘major shift’ in its expectations and standards; ‘raising the bar’ for all firms. It will require firms to approach this as a business-led change programme, rather than approaching it as a compliance exercise to make tweaks to existing ‘treating customers fairly’ standards.
“The FCA also highlights that the rising cost of living presents additional risks to consumers and that firms need to do more to support their customers as the economic situation worsens. So despite the delay, firms need to balance their plans to implement the duty with a focus on how they can support customers now, for instance by offering proactive support and early engagement for impacted customers, and ensuring staff have the right training and skills to offer appropriate help.”
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