In July 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA, published a policy statement, with final rules, on its Consumer Duty initiative. This comprises a new principle, cross-cutting rules, and four outcomes for retail consumers.
The Consumer Duty will mean that consumers should receive communications they can understand products and services that meet their needs and offer fair value, and obtain the customer support they need, when they need it.
Clarity on the FCA’s expectations, and firms’ focus on what their customers need, should lead to more flexibility for firms to compete and innovate in the interests of consumers. With firms assessing how they are meeting their customers’ needs, the FCA will be able to quickly identify practices that do not deliver the right outcomes for consumers and take action before practices become entrenched as market norms.
Regulated firms will have to comply with the Consumer Duty from 31 July 2023, with a delayed implementation of 31 July 2024 for products that are closed or not being sold to new investors.