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Current News 

Consumer Duty 
The latest approach from the FCA to achieving better outcomes for clients with cross cutting rules covering acting in good faith, avoiding foreseeable harm and supporting clients in achieving their financial objectives. Firms are expected to consider these rules across the products and services they offer, the prices charged, the way in which they communicate with clients and support them through the life of the product or service. Challenging times. 

It is good to see that restrictions have disappeared and that the new 'normal' is settling down - many people with a mix of office and home working. This can present challenges for firms looking to ensure that compliance requirements continue to be met and that staff are appropriately supervised.  

Due diligence 
The FCA remain interested in how firms are identifying providers and solutions which they recommend to their clients. The concern is that some will just take what providers tell them at face value rather than probing to 'see what's under the bonnet'. A good starting point is to identify what it is that your clients want and then use that to ask challenging questions. 

Increasingly entrepreneurs are seeking alternative financing and crowdfunding via equity or loans has a potential role. Clarity of what secuity is offered to investors and around the risks involved reamins critical. FCA authorisation is required for many organisations in this sector and getting it right is not as easy as it may at first seem. 
The sector is subject to occasional reviews during which the FCA consider how to strengthen the assessment and disclosure of risk or improve the marketing of these sites.  

Claims management 
The FCA is the regulator of claims management companies (CMCs). There have been many firms in this sector who have chosen to cease trading rather than take on the new standards and rules. The survivors have the opportunity to become trusted providers of high quality, good value services that help customers pursue legitimate claims for redress. 
Planning for retirement 
The advent of flexibility in pensions caused some significant shifts in approach for providers and advisers. For the FCA the key remains ensuring that consumers are given advice which is both accurate and comprehensible. One key area that we are finding firms still need to consider is how they ensure that they can demonstrate options are considered appropriately and kept under review. 
Insurance Disribution Directive 
The IDD was a recast of the previous Insurance Mediation Directive and was designed to ensure a level playing field across all participants selling insurance products. 
By now firms will understand their level of compliance with IDD requirements and know that it is not a tick box exercise. It remains crucial to involve all business areas in periodically reviewing the implementation of the requirements, such as customers’ demands and needs, product governance and disclosure. 
The FCA remain concerned about the scope for incentives to distort behaviour. We are seeing more questions during the application process around conflicts of interest than previously. Firms should be looking again at what incentives they have in place and considering whether rewards motivate behaviour that is in the clients’ best interests.  
Senior Manager Regime - business as normal? 
All FCA regulated firms have had time to embed the Regime with clarity on accountability across senior management with their conduct rules training being refreshed periodically. Certification processes remain an area where there is scope for improvement. 
Creditworthiness in the consumer credit industry 
The FCA continues to monitor firms within the consumer credit industry and one of their concerns remains the way in which creditworthiness is assessed. Good firms will regularly review their policies and processes in order to make any necessary changes. For example can staff clearly distinguish between credit risk and affordability risk in carrying out a creditworthiness/affordability assessment. 
We can be contacted by phone 01275 390081 or by email additionally you can use the form below. 
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