The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has unveiled insights from a recent Ipsos UK survey, shedding light on the progress made by financial firms in the implementation of the Consumer Duty initiative.

Launched in mid-2023, the Consumer Duty rules aim to establish elevated and clearer standards of consumer protection within the realm of financial services, mandating firms to prioritise the needs of their clientele.

Conducted during Autumn 2023, the survey delved into the preparedness of 634 firms, concentrating on their post-31st July 2023 actions concerning open products and services.

Notably, 43% of the surveyed firms reported a seamless implementation process, marking substantial advancements, particularly in sectors such as retail finance providers and debt advice firms, which had previously faced challenges in readiness.

Furthermore, a significant majority of firms (74%) have now identified their target markets, and 73% have appointed overseers for the implementation of the Consumer Duty.

Despite these strides, challenges persist, notably in outcomes monitoring, with payment services and wealth management firms encountering the most difficulties.

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The survey underscored positive developments in consumer contracts (38%) and marketing strategies (30%). However, the FCA, aware of the survey’s limited sample size, urged caution in making broad generalisations.

The regulatory body asserted that the headline findings offer a snapshot of the implementation landscape, providing a context for future initiatives. The commitment to taking corrective measures where necessary was emphasised.

Key findings revealed that 80% of brokers have conducted a fair value assessment of existing products. Of this, 11% are currently in the process, while the remaining percentage stated that it does not apply to their organisation. The comprehensive survey serves as a crucial benchmark for assessing the efficacy of the Consumer Duty initiative and guiding future regulatory actions.