By Tony Willard
Lenders are urging dealers to prepare to make essential changes from April 1 when the Financial Conduct Authority becomes responsible for UK consumer finance standards.
|Martin Parr, Alphera Financial Services UK FCA readiness manager,|
Martin Parr, Alphera Financial Services UK FCA readiness manager, said: “Electronic and paper trails need to be in place to show customers have been treated fairly at all stages.”
A survey of Alphera partners found 89% ready for the changes and all had applied for an interim licence. The same proportion expected higher costs, with 44% believing the changes would be good for business overall.
Richard Hoggart, managing director, DSG Financial Services, said: “We believe the franchised dealer sector is well placed to handle the change to FCA regulation. The industry can interpret and adopt regularly changing legislation, and we need not run scared here.”
He believes the FCA will give the sector adequate time, but added: “The authority has previously shown they will take a much tougher line on wilful neglect of responsibilities that’s far more than the OFT ever dreamed of.”
Alan Carson, Northridge Finance sales director, said: “Conduct is key, and those dealers with a customer-centric approach may find the transition smoother than others.
“Every dealer needs to carry out a complete review of their processes and procedures. They should ask if employees are suitably knowledgeable, and examine their complaints handling process, staff remuneration packages and ad compliance.”
Paul Kaye, Close Motor Finance sales and marketing director, said: “Dealers and lenders should aim to provide fair outcomes to customers, from a regulatory viewpoint and because it makes good commercial sense, too.”
Shaun Armstrong, Creditplus managing director, said the FCA (which replaces the OFT) would be far more meticulous than its predecessors in enforcing rules.
“Extensive changes will bring about a new era of banking, designed to protect consumers,” he said. “It’s also good news for the industry, but some controls and processes will be subject to new requirements.”
Armstrong said approved people would have new responsibilities and appropriate accountability. The FCA would want stricter controls around advertising and promoting credit. “There will be new costs and reporting required from firms selling financial products, or giving financial advice,” he said.
♦ For more FCA information, go to www.fca.org.uk