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Regulator’s small firm director defends TCF

FSA acting director of small firms Stephen Bland has hit back at critics of the treating customers fairly initiative.

Speaking at Aifa’s first Leaders of the Industry lunch in London recently, Bland claimed that the fierce criticism levelled at TCF was unfounded.

He said that arguments claiming TCF was ill defined, unnecessary and amounts to product regulation by the back door are contradictory and added that pension unlocking and advice on equity release showed the need for the initiative and said that it is illogical for firms to criticise TCF if they are treating customers fairly.

Bland said a failure of the industry to embrace TCF would lead to a drop in consumer numbers and an increase in complaints against companies.

Bland, who is tipped to replace David Kenmir as head of the FSA’s retail intermediaries sector when the role is taken on by the small firms division, said: “TCF has been subject to a number of criticisms. I believe these to be unfounded. In particular, we consider TCF to be an integral part of maintaining consumer confidence in the financial services industry.”

But Pension Transfer Solutions managing director Carl Melvin says: “Bland is missing the point. Treating customer fairly is yet another layer of regulation that we have to spend time and money com- plying with. The FSA has app- lied these rules across the board because of a few bad apples and is forcing all of us to prove that we are innocent.”


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