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Consumer Duty podcasts

Some of our latest thoughts and insights on a range of Consumer Duty and customer vulnerability topics, ideal for listening on the go.

Consumer Duty: vulnerability or suitability?

A Consumer Duty podcast (3:23)

Consumer Duty uses the term ‘vulnerability’ – but is that word itself unhelpful? Does it come with preconceptions, stigma or assumptions? Is the term ‘suitability’ more appropriate? Andrew Gething and Tony Crane discuss the need for labels – but also why the need to have a common understanding of these is important.

Can you meet Consumer Duty without monitoring individual customers?

A Consumer Duty podcast (15:32)

What happens if you decide to not monitor individual customers – and just assume that half of them are vulnerable but you believe they all have good outcomes? How far down the path of risk does that go? If some monitoring takes place at the point of claim, or when an issue is raised, is that enough? Under Consumer Duty a firm is required to demonstrate that it is treating people with vulnerability characteristics as fairly as those without – so being passive, argues Andrew Gething when discussing this with Tony Crane, isn’t enough. 

Managing and avoiding harmful outcomes

A Consumer Duty podcast (09:15)

While all firms will have activities in place to avoid harms, it’s certain that these aren’t as robust as Consumer Duty would expect. Andrew Gething shares his experience of assessing vulnerable consumers, what can be done when a vulnerability is discovered – and why many current next steps are unlikely to help actually address that vulnerability. Also, vulnerabilities are often looked at in isolation, but real issues arise when people experience more than one vulnerability – and addressing these holistically, rather than separately, happens far too infrequently.

Whose job is it to monitor a consumer’s vulnerability?

A Consumer Duty podcast (10:21)

Under Consumer Duty, there is an obligation to monitor the customer throughout the lifetime of the product. For some products (say, mortgages) that monitoring should take place over many years. Who has to do the monitoring? Is it the adviser, manufacturer – or both of them? Someone has to do it – Andrew Gething and Tony Crane look at how this can be based on circumstance, relationship, product creation and more. All parties need to understand who is doing it and not assume that it’s being done by someone else; there is always an obligation to know that this is done.

What are the ‘harms’ encompassed within Consumer Duty?

A Consumer Duty podcast (7:45)

Consumer Duty frequently mentions harms – but what are these? How do you go about assessing harms for your products and services? Some harmful outcomes are not trivial – and quite a lot of other circumstances can lead into those harms. Andrew Gething explains to Tony Crane how to look at harms in the context of a product and assess how large the harm is – or potentially could be. Andrew shares his firm’s experience of undertaking risk assessments to quantify risks – and how this can be applied to financial products and services.

What’s the difference between guidance and rules?

A Consumer Duty podcast (5:19)

Tony Crane and Andrew Gething look at Consumer Duty’s ‘guidance’ and ‘rules’ to unpick whether – in real-world terms – there is a difference between these and the implications of deciding to ignore guidance even when following rules. Tony leads Andrew back to the principle that firms should be delivering good outcomes and that everything supports this – and in that sense there is little difference between the two. More importantly, deciding to comply with one and not the other misses the overarching principle of delivering good outcomes and avoiding harms.

At what point should firms be sharing vulnerability data?

A Consumer Duty podcast (13:22)

As firms gather vulnerability data on their clients, it’s clearly going to become the case that firms gather data in different forms and amounts – and can lead to consumers being asked again and again for very similar data, itself not a very good outcome. Even for a single product, a consumer could need to supply the same information for a manufacturer and adviser – or more. For example, for a mortgage, a consumer may need to do this with the mortgage provider, life insurance provider and general insurance provider – again, not a great customer journey. Andrew Gething and Tony Crane look at the options to share this data and how it may ultimately be the only way to provide the best customer experience.

A deep dive into Consumer Duty’s cross-cutting rules

A Consumer Duty podcast (07:41)

That vulnerability is not included within Consumer Duty as an explicit cross-cutting rule can create some debate as to its importance within the various rules. Andrew Gething and Tony Crane look at although this isn’t the case, vulnerability is included within each cross-cutting rule – so its importance within Consumer Duty shouldn’t be downplayed. They examine practical examples – such as the rule for acting in good faith and the rule for avoiding foreseeable harm, which include within them avoiding harm to vulnerable customers. In a sense, vulnerability cross-cuts all of the vulnerability rules – making it one of the most important aspects of Consumer Duty.

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