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Guest opinion: FCA - friend or foe?

Author: Nigel Wray (pictured), Product Partnerships

"Much has been written this year about the FCA taking over consumer credit regulation.

Most of what has been written has focused on the negative aspect of the new regime; another layer of bureaucracy, making it harder to deal with customers, potential fines and censures for wrongdoing or not adhering to FCA rules.

But is the FCA your friend or foe?

The answer is probably neither. But what the FCA should be treated as, if we are to successfully make the transition to the new regulatory framework, is a partner.

By taking this approach, dealers will look to understand what the FCA requirements are and act accordingly but also feedback information from the marketplace to help develop the regulatory framework for the benefit of all parties.

What the FCA proposes can be seen as simply developing best practice.

Putting the customer at the heart of how a business operates is what successful businesses already do. Ensuring the products sold are suitable for the customer’s needs will not only keep a business compliant but help increase sales and improve customer retention.

In fact, the FCA’s involvement could add greater credibility to the industry and increase consumer confidence in the products being sold.

The most loyal customers are often shown to be those who have made a complaint which has been handled in an excellent manner, quickly and efficiently. Again, effective complaints handling is another cornerstone of the new regulations.

Collecting and reviewing good quality MI in line with TCF guidelines will better equip businesses to spot trends, understand their customers and assess how well their business is at effectively dealing with consumers.

The compliance procedures needed for FCA regulations, will increase the administrative burden on dealers and require new skills and knowledge but risk management assessment, business planning, training and TCF gap analysis will make a dealer more robust and better able to deal with the challenges ahead and reduce the risk of failure.

So, FCA regulations can be seen as working together in partnership to better meet customer needs, improve customer service particularly if things do go wrong and improve business practices to make dealers more resilient to the wider threats they face.

This is a new market for the FCA and so both parties will need to learn how to manage this new partnership and both can help the other understand the best way forward.

As always the businesses that embrace the new challenges and see it as an opportunity to improve their business will succeed and win sales from those who see the FCA as another foe setting out to further increase the administrative and regulatory burden on business.

With the right support and guidance, all dealers however big or small, can prosper in the new world of FCA regulation." 

> Fact sheet

Related stories:

AM/Alphera webinar

When: October 9, 2014, 11am

Dealers looking for assurances on what is required to ensure they meet Financial Conduct Authority’s rules on motor finance selling are invited to take part in a free webinar.

AM Compliance Conference

This conference will seek to provide an objective and honest appraisal of the FCA and its requirements whilst at the same time highlighting some of the pitfalls, debunking the myths and pointing out the positive aspects.

The event will put the onset of the FCA into perspective and dispel some of the scaremongering which has perhaps obscured the industry’s perception of the organisation, its goals and its remit to work with suppliers to deliver a fair and transparent service to customers.



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