Firms will struggle to meet the latest FSA deadlines for implementing TCF, according to a new survey which suggests firms still prioritise new over existing customers.
The research, carried out by TCF Index - an information and support service for all firms affected by TCF - also suggests there is a high proportion of senior management not assessing decisions against TCF policy.
The survey comes hot on the heels of an FSA progress report, which found most firms are making the necessary changes for TCF but highlighted slight struggles among smaller firms.
Together with the report, the regulator announced December 2008 as the deadline by which firms must be able to demonstrate both to themselves and to the FSA that they are treating customers fairly.
TCF Index says its survey found a number of similarities with the FSA’s report, and says there is still a lot of work to be done before firms can be confident of meeting next Christmas’s deadline.
Spokesman 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 in readiness for the March and December 2008 deadlines.”
Firms from the worlds of banking, insurance, pensions and investment were asked for their views for the TCF Index survey.
TCF Index says it had nearly 190 respondents to the survey, which was carried out throughout March and April.
The results suggest there is inadequate consumer research into new products, a lack of clear and user-friendly customer literature, and that “a great deal” of improvement is needed when it comes to the handling of complaints.
TCF Index has also this week launched TCF Index Limited, a Treating Customers Fairly consultancy which, in turn, has launched the TCF Index Baseboard, a combination of diagnostic tools and display techniques that shows a firm’s TCF status compared with both its own objectives and current best practice.
For more information on the Baseboarda and to see the research, visit www.tcf-index.com
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