The industry still has a long way to go to embrace the FSA’s treating customers fairly regime, according to a newly launched consultancy.
TCF Index says its independent research, conducted by NOP, shows a high proportion of senior management are not assessing TCF policy with only 26 per cent of respondents saying that all senior executives follow TCF policy. A further 21 per cent say most senior executives follow broad TCF principles.
When asked about the balance between customer needs and profit targets with regard to product launches, 42 per cent say there is an equal balance, 21 per cent say customer needs ranked higher than profit targets and 19 per cent say profits come first.
When asked about treating complaints, 59 per cent say firms either use complaints to improve service or at least took them seriously but 27 per cent say they are handled, at best, in line with regulatory requirements.
TCF Index joint managing director Phil Evans says: “Our research has shown that, based on current performance, too many firms could be taken to task by the regulator next year as there are many areas for concern. TCF is about balancing the customer’s needs with the firm’s needs, being absolutely clear about what the firm and its services offer and being transparent about fees and levels of service. Our objective is to help firms meet these criteria for the March and December 2008 deadlines”.
Huntswood head of regulatory consulting Eurfron Jones says: “The real opportunity is that of the competitive advantage that TCF can bring firms, in addition to protecting the customer. To see TCF as simply another regulatory requirement is missing the chance to do fairer, more rewarding, more sustainable business. The opportunity is tangible rewards in the areas of improved customer service, increased effectiveness in compliant sales and greater customer retention, all leading to increased profits.”