Nearly seven in every ten firms only take the FSA's treating customers fairly (TCF) initiative seriously when there is a risk to profits, a study suggests.
According to a survey conducted by TCF Index, 66% of firms admit TCF arrangements are modified when profits for shareholders and members are under threat.
In addition, some firms report senior management still have “little involvement” with their firm’s bid for TCF compliance, while 45% of respondents say their firm will struggle to meet the regulator’s year-end deadline.
The findings may have a bearing on this year’s Incisive Media Gold Standard Awards, launched five years ago to find the industry’s most outstanding customer focused firms and a partner of TCF Index.
Chris Harvey, joint managing director at TCF Index, says: “Our research has shown that based on current performance, too many firms could be taken to task by the regulator as there are many areas for concern.
“This is good news for those who have embraced TCF and we look forward to them demonstrating their customer strengths in this year’s Gold Standard Awards.
“However, for those firms that are falling short, time is getting very thin on the ground.”
Gold Standard Awards director, Sarah Godfrey, adds: “This research shows that there are still few firms seeing the potential of TCF as a real opportunity to stand out in the market.
“This is precisely why we launched the Gold Standard Awards so firms can stand apart in the eyes of consumers. Previous winners are visibly demonstrating the positive effect the award is having on their business.”
The survey was conducted on the TCF Index website during April 2008 and attracted a cross section of respondents from providers and intermediaries, and from a range of sectors, including life and pensions, mortgages and investments.
TCF Index was launched to provide a “natural port of call for any firm aspiring to good practice under the TCF principles”.
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Lack of innovation for solutions
Some 2,000 consumers affected