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Consumer Duty: broadening the scope of care for retail customers

The FCA issued the final rules on the new Consumer Duty on 27 July 2022 in PS22/9: A New Consumer Duty. In a press release issued by the FCA, Sheldon Mills, Executive Director of Consumers and Competition, said:

'The Consumer Duty will lead to a major shift in financial services and will promote competition and growth based on high standards. As the Duty raises the bar for the firms we regulate, it will prevent some harm from happening and will make it easier for us to act quickly and assertively when we spot new problems.'

The FCA aim to achieve this through a multi-layered approach, referred to in the Guidance as “The Duty”. The Duty applies to products and services aimed at retail customers, within a wide range of products, from consumer credit, investment and payment services to mortgages.

A new Principle for Businesses states that “A firm must act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers”. This Principle is underpinned by the ‘cross-cutting rules’, which for example include that the firm must act in good faith, and the ‘four outcomes’ being a suite of rules and guidance setting more detailed expectations for firm conduct.

The FCA have issued “FG22/5 Final non-Handbook Guidance for firms on the Consumer Duty” alongside the Policy Statement, which will gives firms practical insight into the expectations of the FCA.

The new rules will apply to all new products & services, as well as existing products & services that remain on sale or open for renewal, from the end of July 2023. There is delayed implementation of the end of July 2024 for all existing closed products and services.


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