The FSA says it is disappointed in the "sizeable" number of firms that failed to meet its March TCF deadline - and warns it will now intensify its focus on them.
In its ‘Treating Customers Fairly initiative: progress report’ published this morning, the regulator says 93% of major retail firms, 87% of medium-sized firms, 74% of wholesale firms and 41% of small firms met the deadline.
Firms had to be “implementing the necessary TCF changes in a substantial part of their business” by the March 31 deadline.
However, the FSA points out its assessment of small firms – carried out via a “statistically valid” telephone survey of 659 companies – was carried out in December 2006 and January 2007 and admits some companies may have made improvements in the meantime.
Also in its report, the regulator announces a new set of 2008 deadlines. By the end of next year, all firms are expected to be able to demonstrate to themselves and the FSA that it is consistently treating customers fairly.
In addition, the FSA says it is to step up its support for small firms striving to meet the TCF principles and promised to reduce its scrutiny of firms that are succeeding in implementing TCF.
Sarah Wilson, FSA director with responsibility for TCF, says: “We are encouraged that senior management in very many firms are showing strong commitment to TCF and are rising to the challenge of a more principles-based approach to regulation.
“The big prize here is achieving improved outcomes for consumers and this is why we have set a further deadline. Meeting it will require sustained focus from senior management.
“We will intensify our supervisory focus on any firm that has failed to sufficiently engage with TCF and include the use of enforcement where necessary.
“Most particularly, in addition to all that is already available to them, we will increase our efforts to assist small firms. Given their size and structure these firms can make rapid progress if they engage.”
The FSA report picked out some sectors which performed particularly poorly in implementing TCF.
Only 22% of small mortgage advisers, 45% of small general insurance advisers, and 52% of small directly authorised financial advisers met the deadline.
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