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All firms regulated by the FSA have to support the FSA Handbook’s principle that a firm ‘must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly’.
The TCF (‘treating customer fairly’) principle aims to raise standards in the way firms carry on their business by introducing changes that will benefit consumers and increase their confidence in the financial services industry.
Specifically TCF aims to:
Desired consumer outcomes of TCF
The FSA has outlined six core consumer outcomes that it wishes to see as a result of the TCF initiative. These are:
What TCF isn’t
TCF does not mean:
TCF is about a culture - doing business in a way that will help ensure customers get fair treatment.
TCF and your business
The FSA ‘Conduct of Business Rules’ support the principle of TCF, so if you’re following the rules relevant to the mortgage industry, you’re probably already implementing TCF in much of what you do. However, in order to satisfy FSA requirements, you need to take extra steps to show how you’re implementing TCF throughout your business.
Assessing and implementing TCF
The FSA doesn’t lay down any standard way in which TCF should be assessed and implemented, but it has highlighted key areas within the product life cycle where it’s a good idea to have extra checks in place. These include:
In practice this means identifying potential gaps in TCF practice and developing procedures and checks to plug these in the following areas:
TCF Info tips and tools to help you
TCF Info has produced a range of checklists, case studies, tips and tools to help you focus on what you need to do.
These are not definitive, nor are they rules, and you’ll need to adapt them for your particular business. Nor are they complete; we’ll be adding new areas in the future to cover all stages of the product life cycle. However, they should go a long way in helping you start to implement TCF in your organisation.
If you’re a sole trader
Treating Customers Fairly applies equally to all regulated firms – irrespective of size, so all of the pages on the TCF Info website are relevant for you.
To get extra tips on understanding how TCF applies if you work as a one-man-band see our page, TCF and sole traders.
Follow the links in the left-hand menu to find out more. You can also download or link to relevant FSA reports below.