Financial Watch: Consumer Duty in Action, New Protection Offerings, and Industry Insights
Just over a month ago, on July 31, 2023, the Consumer Duty was formally introduced. Marking its inaugural public intervention, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken its first course of action by requesting participation from nine prominent banks and building societies to initiate value assessments of their savings products. This decision was prompted by mounting concerns that the advantages of interest rate hikes were not being passed on to customers who hold savings accounts.
In response to these growing concerns, the FCA had already issued a comprehensive 14-point action plan in July, with the primary objective of ensuring that banks provide more favorable savings rates to their customers.
Subsequently, the FCA has further advanced its initiative by formally requesting these nine financial institutions to provide comprehensive assessments of the value offered by their respective savings products. This move was directly influenced by the implementation of the Consumer Duty in July 2023, which mandates financial firms to guarantee that their products and services, across their entire spectrum, deliver equitable value to their customers. Failure to adhere to this mandate will result in regulatory action.
The actions taken by the FCA serve as a substantial reminder to all participants in the financial services sector that the Consumer Duty is now fully operational. Consequently, firms are obligated to meet its requirements without exception.
The Protection Guru team engages in numerous discussions week after week, deliberating the advantages of PGPro. Our mission is to support financial advisers in simplifying discussions about their customers’ protection needs. In the upcoming week, we are set to feature prominently as part of the Income Protection Task Force update. This will highlight the valuable benefits of PGPro in conjunction with Income Protection.
Recently, Adam Higgs and I had the opportunity to connect with Matt Chapman and Adam Kaplan to provide an in-depth demonstration of PGPro and Income Protection. Inquiring about Matt’s impressions, he candidly remarked:
“Any adviser who struggles to recommend anything other than the cheapest product they find, desperately needs PG Pro. The system allows you to compare products and justify your recommendations in detail through the use of a quality score, ensuring that every recommendation you make produces great outcomes and delivers quantifiable value. Clients will love it, compliance departments even more so! The ability to compare the quality and value of Income Protection products and justify your advice with a quality report is a quantum leap forward and will enable advisers to make recommendations with greater confidence and much less uncertainty. Start using it today, you won’t regret it!”
Last week, MetLife UK introduced a new offering called ChildShield, designed to provide support to families in the unfortunate event of accidents or serious illnesses affecting their children. Developed in collaboration with financial advisors and customers, ChildShield aims to bridge the protection gap and enhance family coverage.
This plan extends coverage to all children in the family, including stepchildren and those who may no longer reside in the same household, up to the age of 23. Notably, there are no restrictions on the number of claims that can be filed.
ChildShield was initially launched with ten selected distributors as part of a phased rollout that commenced on August 31st. It is anticipated to become widely available in the protection market by the end of this year. MetLife’s initiative in this regard has been widely embraced and is warmly welcomed.