The FSA has published guides to help adviser firms improve treating customers fairly standards and promised less scrutiny of firms that prove their TCF credentials.
The FSA has today published a paper on TCF culture including examples of good and bad practice and a framework allowing a firm to assess the risk its culture presents in developing TCF.
It has also published a guide to management information for TCF summarising messages from other FSA publications and including new case studies and examples of good and bad practice.
Director responsible for the TCF initiative Sarah Wilson says the papers are aimed at addressing the gap between the level of engagement of senior management in firms and that of middle-management and other staff.
She says much of the FSA TCF work will focus on talking to middle-management and front line staff to ensure the customer experience at the coal face matches up with TCF improvements that have been seen at senior management level.
Wilson says when the FSA is satisfied a firm has robust systems and controls in place and that senior management are reviewing and using reliable TCF management information it will significantly reduce the level of testing carried out on the firm’s culture on this issue.
In its July newsletter the FSA announced it will be visiting 50 firms in September to review their processes for giving advice following up its previous TCF quality of advice work.
The FSA has set down two TCF deadlines for firms- March 2008 for firms to show they have appropriate management information or measures in place to test TCF and December 2008 to demonstrate they are consistently treating their customers fairly.
Wilson says: “One of the things we have consistently said over the last 12 months is there is a gap between the level of engagement in TCF at senior management level and the experience of the customer at the coal face.
“We strongly encourage firms to consider the issues we have identified and to think about how to use the framework to review their culture regarding treating customers fairly.
“We know that many firms find identifying, collecting and using management information for TCF challenging. We have issued material on MI and intend to continue to work with the industry to take this forward and to provide additional useful material ahead of the March 2008 deadline.”