FSA fails small firms on TCF, says report

The Financial Services Authority has been blamed for a \"massive communications gap\" when it comes to guiding small firms on its Treating Customers Fairly initiative.

With TCF’s March 31 implementation deadline fast approaching, a report by Mortgage Next has revealed that just 6% of small brokers are ready to implement the initiative.

Justine Tomlinson, marketing dir-ector at Mortgage Next, says: “The results of our survey are concerning but we cannot lay the blame for this on small firms.

“The FSA has created a massive communications gap, choosing to communicate key messages to large firms while expecting small ones with limited resources to update themselves. The regulator needs to support networks and service providers that are well placed to bridge this gap.”

David Sheppard, director of small firm Principia, says: “The FSA just sends out a regular newsletter. There is little communication and when it does communicate it is not always clear.

“There is some way to go before we will feel fully informed on all its regulations and issues.”

But the FSA argues that it has published plenty of information on its website when it comes to TCF practices for smaller firms.

Stephen Bland, director of the small firms division at the FSA, says: “We will develop the principle of TCF and how it applies to smaller firms, and will also work closely with trade bodies and industry representatives. We hope to communicate clearly what TCF means for smaller organisations.”