Policy statement (PS22/9) sets out the FCA’s (Financial Conduct Authority) final rules and non-handbook guidance (FG22/5) for new consumer duty (the Duty). The aim of the Duty is to set higher and clearer standards of consumer protection across financial services which will require firms to put their customers’ needs first.
The FCA observes that the Duty “forms part of the FCA’s transformation to becoming a more assertive and data-led regulator”.
The Duty will include requirements for firms to:
- end rip-off charges and fees
- make it as easy to switch or cancel products as it was to take them out in the first place
- provide helpful and accessible customer support, not making people wait so long for an answer that they give up
- provide timely and clear information that people can understand about products and services so consumers can make good financial decisions, rather than burying key information in lengthy terms and conditions that few have the time to read
- provide products and services that are right for their customers
- focus on the real and diverse needs of their customers, including those in vulnerable circumstances, at every stage and in each interaction
The FCA is giving firms 12 months to implement the new rules for all new and existing products and services that are currently on sale, these rules will come into force on 31 July 2023. The rules will be extended to closed book products to give firms more time to bring these older products, that are no longer on sale, up to the new standards. The rules for these products will come into force on 31 July 2024.
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