Evolution of customer care: TCF to Consumer Duty

Apr 25th '24

From TCF to Consumer Duty: a paradigm shift in regulatory focus

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Has Consistently Championed The Fair Treatment Of Consumers Within Financial Markets. The Introduction Of Consumer Duty marks a significant evolution from the previous Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) Framework. This new mandate not only emphasizes outcomes over processes but also strengthens the accountability of financial firms, ensuring that consumer interests are at the forefront of business operations.


The divergence from TCF to Consumer Duty


1. Enhanced purpose and outcomes focus

Consumer Duty transcends the traditional TCF framework by shifting from a procedural compliance focus to an outcomes-based approach. Under TCF, firms were required to establish and demonstrate processes conducive to fair customer treatment. However, Consumer Duty demands tangible results and beneficial outcomes for consumers, not merely fair, but proactive delivery of quality services that meet consumer needs effectively.


2. Increased responsibility on firms

With Consumer Duty, the responsibility significantly shifts onto the firms themselves. Unlike TCF, where the regulatory body would assess the appropriateness of a firm’s frameworks, Consumer Duty mandates that firms must not only understand but also ensure that their services and products genuinely benefit the consumer, thereby preventing any potential harm before it occurs.


3. Stringent supervision and data utilisation

Consumer Duty introduces more rigorous supervisory measures, where firms are now required to continuously monitor and adapt to ensure that consumer outcomes remain positive throughout the product lifecycle. This approach is akin to a ‘section 166 skilled person’s review’ but extends beyond management and control processes to include a detailed analysis of consumer feedback and outcome data.


4. Focus on real outcomes

Under Consumer Duty, the FCA’s inquiries delve deeper, asking not if a firm’s frameworks are appropriate, but rather if they effectively deliver good consumer outcomes. This shift places substantial pressure on firms to maintain constant vigilance and adaptability in their operations, ensuring that they not only meet but exceed the regulatory standards set forth.


Consumer Duty implementation and compliance: a roadmap for firms

To align with Consumer Duty requirements, firms should adopt comprehensive strategies that include robust data analytics to track customer satisfaction and outcomes continuously. Technologies that enable real-time feedback and proactive adjustments will be crucial in staying ahead of compliance requirements and ensuring customer satisfaction.


Embracing the future of financial regulation

As Consumer Duty sets new benchmarks for customer care in financial services, firms that proactively embrace these changes will not only comply with regulations but also gain a competitive advantage through enhanced customer trust and loyalty. The future of financial services will increasingly depend on the ability of firms to adapt to these evolving standards, placing consumer outcomes at the heart of their business models.

This new regulatory framework not only ensures a fairer financial market but also heralds a more transparent and consumer-centric approach to financial services.


Download: FCA Consumer Duty policy template


Read: Consumer Duty


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