FCA publishes Consumer Duty programme of engagement

FCA has published a press release on its programme of engagement for the Consumer Duty, as its second batch of portfolio letters were sent on 21 February 2023. FCA’s programme of engagement sets out expectations of the Duty and arranges regional events for specific small- and medium-sized firms.

FCA has already published letters sent to sectors including: asset management, custody and fund services; consumer investments; credit reference agencies; general insurance; life insurance; mainstream consumer credit lenders; mortgage lenders and administrators; and retail banks and building societies. These, along with further sectors’ letters yet to be sent, are published on the FCA’s website.

The most recent batch of portfolio letters were addressed to CEOs or directors of firms in: debt advice; debt purchasing, debt collecting and debt administration services; and payment services and e-money. Each letter sets out a reminder of the implementation timeline, key elements of the Duty and how it applies to the firms, as well as FCA’s expectations and feedback from the recent review of firms’ implementation plans. The letters also set out FCA’s approach to supervising the Duty and the planned next steps.

The letters emphasise that implementing the Duty should be a top priority for CEOs and directors personally. Good customer outcomes need to be at the heart of firms’ strategies and business objectives.

Sheldon Mills, FCA’s Executive Director of Consumers and Competition, gave thanks to firms for their hard work to date in implementing the Duty. He said that leaders have a key role to play in the embedding of customer interests into firms’ cultures and purposes.

The Duty comes into force on 31 July 2023 for new and existing products or services which are open to sale or renewal, and 31 July 2024 for closed products or services.

Nicola Radford