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‘Firms too slow in embracing TCF’

The FSA has issued a stark warning to the industry that it is being too slow to implement its treating customers fairly initiative and it will take tough action against those who miss the December 2008 deadline.

Speaking at an FSA conference in London this week, TCF director Sarah Wilson said the FSA had reached a turning point with the initiative and firms needed to pick up the pace to ensure they escaped the significant regulatory consequences of missing the deadline.

The FSA has set a target of March 2008 for firms to have appropriate management information in place before the December deadline for firms to show they are consistently treating their customers fairly.

Wilson said the industry has had plenty of time to get its house in order and the various thematic work carried out this year has shown all sections of the industry need to improve the speed of implementation.

She hoped the majority of advisers would meet the deadline but emphasised they would have no excuses for failing to do so.

She said firms failing to take their obligations seriously will face regulatory interventions including the imposition of demanding risk mitigation plans, remediation work and the use of enforcement.

Wilson said: “For firms that miss the deadline and fail to take their obligations seriously, our message is absolutely clear – you will face more regulatory intervention.

“We have given you as much space and as much explanation and illustration as you could possible need. It is now time for senior management commitment in firms to be translated into actions for consumers.”

HSBC chief operation officer Sean O’Sullivan says: “I have concerns about the objectivity of the assessments about meeting the deadline. We will do all the right things we need to do but how will objective assessment work?”

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