Rachel Fergusson, External Affairs Assistant, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

What the FCA's new 'Consumer Duty' means for customers with mental health problems

27 July 2022

Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates financial services, published its final rules and guidance for the new ‘Consumer Duty’ for firms. The Duty contains new rules firms will have to follow with the aim of improving outcomes for all customers and requires them to put their customers’ needs first.

This marks a major step forward in making sure that people are better protected when using financial services and that the needs of all customers, including those of us with mental health problems, are being properly met by firms. To learn more about our thoughts on the Duty, and what it means for people with mental health problems, read our full response here — or hear from our Chief Executive Helen Undy in the video below:

While we are pleased to see that the FCA has placed particular emphasis on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers, we’ll be keeping a close eye on how the Duty is enforced when the rules come into action from July 2023. And at a time when many of us are struggling with rising costs and bills, we hope that firms will waste no time in improving their services to better protect people during the cost of living crisis.

If you work in financial services and would like to hear more about how we can help your firm understand how to better meet the needs of customers with mental health problems, you can learn about our Mental Health Accessible programme here.

Video transcript:

Today sees the launch of the FCA’s final guidance on their new Consumer Duty, which marks a really big step forward in financial services regulation. It’s really great to see some of the things that we and many other organisations have been calling for focussed on in there — so a particular focus on fair outcomes for all consumers, including those with mental health problems and other drivers of vulnerability; a focus right across the life of a product when somebody is using it; and a real focus on fair pricing as well.

We hope that firms will be acting quickly to implement the new rules and not waiting until the July 23 deadline. The cost of living crisis is affecting consumers now and focusing on implementing those bits first, that will help consumers most through this difficult autumn and winter, would be really a great way to both comply with the regulator’s requirements — but also make sure that you’re getting as good outcomes as you possibly can for consumers who are going to be really struggling over the coming months.

As ever, we are here and keen to work with firms to help you understand how to get great outcomes for customers with mental health problems, and we will be watching in July 2023 and hoping that the FCA takes quick action to make sure that firms who aren’t complying are on the receiving end of enforcement action — so that we can all work together to improve outcomes for those people who are going to find the coming years particularly difficult.