What is Consumer Duty?
The FCA Consumer Duty is a new regulatory initiative in the retail financial services industry. Its main goal is to ensure that customers receive good outcomes from financial products and services. This includes fair value, clear communication, and easy access to customer support. Firms must demonstrate evidence of consistently delivering positive outcomes for customers. This involves having a solid consumer duty implementation plan.
This is how the FCA outline the main outcomes for Consumer Duty:
- Products and services should meet the needs, characteristics and objectives of their target customers.
- Products and services are priced in a way that provides fair value, with prices reflecting the benefits to the consumer.
- Consumers should be communicated with in a way that helps them understand and make effective, informed decisions.
- Consumers should receive support that meets their needs for the entire life of the product or service.
We’re going to look at how this will impact Mortgage advice, and how Acre’s broker CRM software can make it simple to deliver these outcomes, and help you implement your consumer duty implementation plan.
Great brokers generally already satisfy Consumer Duty!
We believe that good brokers, who prioritise the needs of their clients, will already be acting in a way that’s compliant with the FCA Consumer Duty. They provide advice that is suitable for their clients' circumstances, ensuring that clients understand the products they’re purchasing, and offer ongoing support as needed.
However, with the introduction of the FCA Consumer Duty, it’s more important than ever for firms to tighten their processes and checks. This is where the idea of having a consumer duty implementation plan comes into play.
In a recent survey of mortgage firm managers, we found that only about 50% of respondents had a comprehensive implementation plan for consumer duty ready for the rollout. While a lot of the remaining respondents had begun planning for it, it was clear that putting together a plan was a bit of a pain point for firms.
How Acre CRM software helps mortgage and protection brokers deliver great customer outcomes:
When demonstrating our platform to managers and advisors we get a lot of questions around “How will Acre help us with consumer duty?”
Acre Broker CRM software has always been designed to help mortgage brokers and protection advisors deliver great outcomes for their clients, and we’ve taken a particular focus when it comes to making Consumer Duty simple and baked into your process.
Here are some of the features:
- Our mortgage broker software provides comprehensive requirements-gathering through the fact find and client portal, making it easier to capture a full picture of their client's situation. This allows brokers to focus on better understanding their client's particular circumstances and needs, which is critical for providing suitable advice.
- Acre CRM makes it easy for brokers to advise on additional financial products that are important for holistic financial advice. These include Protection, General Insurance, Wills and more, meaning brokers can ensure clients have more optionality and understand how to better arm themselves in an increasingly confusing financial world.
- Acre provides better reporting on the penetration of product types, meaning firms can audit whether there are gaps in what they're providing their clients. This helps brokers ensure they’re delivering positive outcomes to their clients in a consistent and reliable way.
- Acre's mortgage and protection suitability report is built automatically based on the data in the case, meaning less manual note-taking and chances of missing information. When paired with clients being able to review and sign their suitability reports in the client portal, it's never been easier to help customers understand the products they're being advised on.
- Acre mortgage sourcing drills deeper into requirements and criteria than any other mortgage software, and automatically saves evidence of research for detailed audit trails. This gives brokers more confidence that they’re giving advice that’s tailored to their clients' needs, and helps ensure positive consumer outcomes.
- Acre software also sets automatic reminders to re-engage clients at key points. This helps brokers maintain a positive relationship with their clients and ensures that they are providing ongoing support throughout the life of their products. In the future, we plan to introduce additional features to the client portal that will keep clients engaged at various points such as when their mortgage agreement is due for renewal or when they might be interested in other financial products or services, further enhancing the customer experience and keeping clients informed.
Want to know more?
The FCA Consumer Duty is an important initiative that aims to raise the level of consumer protection and foster a culture of good outcomes in the financial industry.
If you’re not currently using Acre and want a full tour of the features mentioned above and more, simply book a demo here and let us know what your specific concerns are, and we’ll put together a tailored demonstration of the platform.
If you’re already using Acre and want to discuss how it can fit into your consumer duty implementation plan, feel free to reach out to your account manager at any time!