In these uncertain times, customers expect financial services and related products that meet their needs from firms they can trust. The fair treatment of customers should be at the heart of businesses today and upon request they should be able should be able to demonstrate this.
Treating customers fairly is a requirement for all financially regulated firms, no matter their size or the nature of the activities they undertake. The way in which firms ensure that they meet that requirement should, however, be proportionate and relevant to their size and activities.
Firms need to consider the fair treatment of customers throughout the entire customer journey – both before and after entering into a contract.
It is important for companies today to understand their customer and what their needs are – both overall and at an individual customer level – so that they can ensure that the business model and strategy takes the client interests into account and put customers at the heart of what they do.
Once a strategy is set, you need to have appropriate systems and controls in place to monitor whether the strategy is successful and whether customers’ needs are being met. This should include adequate record keeping and monitoring to ensure compliance – not only of a firm and its staff but also, where appropriate, third parties acting on their behalf.
The TCF rules covering the systems and controls a firm should have in place can be found in the TCF Handbook.
A firms’ culture and governance are a priority for the FCA. A poor culture is often a driver of poor outcomes for customers and therefore the tone from the top is important in ensuring that a firm treats customers fairly.