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Expert insights on preparing for the new Consumer Duty

17 Nov 2022

With the FCA publishing its new requirements for Consumer Duty, we held a webinar in collaboration with VouchedFor, to help advisers unpick the new rules and identify where to start with the implementation process.

Alex Whiston, Managing Director of VouchedFor, joined us alongside, Taylor Beavis, from Universe Financial Advice, to help answer advisers’ queries on the new guidelines.

Don’t worry if you’re still feeling a little unprepared. Of the advisers who joined us for the session, 60% said they felt fairly ready but no one said they were completely good to go.

So to help you get fully primed and poised to tackle the new Consumer Duty, we’ve rounded up a few of the key learnings from the webinar.

Only 24% of firms collect regular feedback

The commercial case of getting behind Consumer Duty, is better prospects converting and more clients recommending you. It’s an incentive to really step up to the mark and thoroughly implement the new guidelines in order to remain client-centric and deliver a best-in-class service.

Asking your clients for feedback is crucial in highlighting what areas of your business need attention, and to get them up to standard with the new Consumer Duty rules. You should continue to request feedback throughout a client’s journey, to flag any gaps in your provision of consumer support – one of the four Consumer Duty outcomes.

What’s more, it’s a useful and data-led way to evidence that you’re adhering to the new rules, should the FCA check up on you. To get the most out of asking for feedback, and to ensure the data is true, Alex from VouchedFor encourages you to be strategic in how you phrase feedback questions.

“Rather than asking ‘Was your adviser clear about their fees?’, as most clients will be nice and say yes, ask, ‘How do your adviser’s fees work?’.”

59% of clients say correspondence could be clearer

When conducting their research, VouchedFor learnt that in fact 1 in 6 clients didn’t understand how their adviser’s fees work, and for prospective clients, this was 1 in 2. It pinpoints a key area where advisers can begin to improve consumer understanding – another of the four key Consumer Duty outcomes. Taylor recommended doing an overhaul of all your client communications and information you provide them with, making sure they’re clear and easily understood.

Alex went on to emphasise taking a look at how you’re delivering the majority of your advice and correspondence, “Is it over the phone, face-to-face or via email? And investigate the impact.”

Appointing a Consumer Duty Champion

Several advisers who joined the webinar wanted clarification on the role of the Consumer Duty champion and what area of the business they should sit in, should they be part of a larger firm. The FCA declares the role belongs at board level or equivalent, to ensure the board is challenging the firm on continuous implementation of the Consumer Duty rules. On page 52 of the FCA’s handbook they provide some reflective and non-prescriptive example questions the champion should raise.  

More tips and support

To hear all the expert advice Alex and Taylor had to offer, you can watch the webinar on demand here.

VouchedFor is the UK’s largest review site of financial and mortgage advisers. On their mission to provide everyone with great advice, they’ve recently launched a platform called Elevation. The platform uses analysis from over 250,000 clients’ feedback to help advice firms improve client experience, meet Consumer Duty requirements and drive revenue.

They’re offering 500 firms who work with Octopus Investments, a FREE personalised Consumer Duty report. Request your report here or get in touch via email: [email protected] or phone: 0203 111 0580.

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