Many financial services firms have made progress over the last year on Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), Clive Briault, managing irector of the FSA told an industry audience today.
He said he had been encouraged by examples around the country where firms have carried out a gap analysis to identify areas of their business where they are not meeting the objective to treat customers fairly, and have put in place programmes to address any shortcomings.
He also mentioned that a number of senior executives had referred to treating customers fairly not as a regulatory obligation that they had somehow to meet but rather as an entirely natural way of describing how they had to improve what they offered to their customers.
He also welcomed the initiatives taken by many trade associations to help their members to understand what treating customers fairly may mean for them and to provide positive examples of what their members can do to raise their standards in this area.
Clive Briault says: “Treating customers fairly needs to be embedded into the culture of a firm at all levels, so that over time it becomes business as usual. This is very much a responsibility of senior management, not just a compliance issue.
“To help firms with this we have produced a number of statements of good practice and case studies to illustrate some of the considerations that senior management should take into account.
“We have now reached the stage of the TCF process where we are building treating customers fairly into Arrow, our core risk assessment and mitigation process. Supervisors will be looking at the approach that a firm has taken to treating its customers fairly, including both the initial “gap analysis” and subsequent actions to address any resulting issues.”
Clive Briault adds: “The very essence of what we are trying to achieve is – put yourself in the place of your customers and consider very carefully whether you would regard yourself as being treated fairly by your firm.”