The FSA has published guidance to help adviser firms improve their standards for treating customers fairly and has promised less scrutiny of firms that prove their TCF credentials.
Last week, the FSA published a paper on TCF culture, including examples of good and bad practice and a framework for firms to assess barriers to TCF development. It has also published a guide to TCF management information, summarising messages from other FSA publications.
Sarah Wilson, the FSA director responsible for the TCF initiative, 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.
Wilson says when the FSA is satisfied a firm has sufficient systems and controls in place and that senior management are reviewing and using reliable TCF management information, it will significantly reduce the level of regulatory scrutiny of the firm.
In its July newsletter, the FSA announced that it will visit 50 adviser firms in September to review processes for giving advice following its previous TCF quality of advice work.
The FSA has set two TCF deadline 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: “There is a gap between the level of engagement in TCF at senior management level and the experience of the customer at the coalface.
“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.”
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