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Are You Ready for the New Consumer Duty?

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Are You Ready for the New Consumer Duty?

​The deadline for the FCA’s new consumer duty regime is looming – are you prepared for the paradigm shift? As the new rules (for open products) come into force on July 31st, UK financial services are poised to undergo one of the largest regulatory transformations in memory.

An industry-wide move to a consumer-centric model is no mean feat. Here’s what you can do to make sure your business thrives in the new era.

Train Your People

A culture of quality and consistency demands regular training. Is your workforce aware of how the changes will affect their roles and responsibilities?

Your team must be equipped to accurately communicate the nature of your products and services to consumers, and that ultimately requires a granular understanding of how your offering works with the new Consumer Duty.

Bias training can be an important part of this process – it can mitigate the odds of unconscious exploitation, improve your customer relationships and enhance your internal culture.

Individual mentorship is crucial in any effort to ensure that all employees are compliant with the new regulations. Compliance will boil down to the individual level, making competency mentorship a core area of concern.

Training excels when it’s framed in the wider spectrum of the business. For example, are your employees aware of how their role impacts other departments inside the organisation? Do they understand how team dynamics can affect their ability to remain compliant?

Look to Your Network for Support

The FCA’s new Consumer Duty will apply to any business across financial services that supply retail customer outcomes, even if they aren’t directly involved in the customer relationship.

As the unmovable July deadline approaches, plenty of companies are feeling the rush. FCA have reported seeing business using ‘avoidance tactics’ or ‘sidestepping’ the issue, whilst noting that there is still ‘time to deliver.’

If you’re struggling with making changes, or you’re worried that you’re missing something, it’s worth reaching out to your network – you’re certainly not alone.

Customer Feedback

Feedback loops create a culture of clear communication. It’s an essential addition to any customer-centric business model, and it can help you adapt your proactive approach to complaints.

Acting on feedback builds consumer trust, the foundation of the four key outcomes covered by consumer duty, Products and Services, Price and Value, Consumer Understanding, and Consumer Support.

It can be tough to understand what needs changing or improving if you’re not in a position to learn from the existing consumer journey that your business provides.

Acquire the Right Talent

In time, the new act is likely to change the nature of the skill sets required for customer advisory roles, which might mean you need to alter your talent acquisition process.

If you’re finding it difficult to bring the right people on board, it may be a case of updating your process and search criteria. A heavier focus on candidates with communication skills and a consumer-focused mindset could be the way forward.

Don’t wait until the last moment to prepare – it will leave you playing catch-up with your competitors, and you’ll risk failing to comply with the new guidelines. If you need any recruitment guidance or advice for your next steps, Broadgate’s specialist consultants are on hand to help. Reach out to me today at Waheed.Najimi@broadgatesearch.com.