Consumer dutyMar 8 2023

Royal London pledges adviser support around consumer duty

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Royal London pledges adviser support around consumer duty
Barry O'Dwyer, group chief executive of Royal London, pledges support to whole-of-market advisers. (Royal London/ABI)
BySimoney Kyriakou

Royal London has pledged greater support around consumer duty and has developed technology to help whole-of-market advisers compete with larger competitors in 2023 and beyond.

Speaking to FTAdviser today (March 8) Barry O'Dwyer, group chief executive, said the mutual was focusing on becoming a consumer duty champion and helping advisers and brokers do the same.

Partly this will be through a programme of activity, such as training, but also through a series of technological developments the mutual has been creating to support advisers.

He said: “A lot of this is around the technology we will provide to advisers to help them understand how their clients with Royal London are behaving.

“For example, we have developed technology to help show them what patterns people are showing in drawdown; are they drawing down too much and putting their future income at risk? The technology can flag this and enable advisers to step in and have conversations with them about that.

“It can be difficult for advisers to get that sort of data from providers."

Royal London is also developing lead generation technology for advisers to help them understand which customers within workplace pensions may need help and advice. 

We want to give whole-of-market IFAs a competitive edge.Barry O'Dwyer, Royal London

O'Dwyer said this technology had already been soft-launched, adding: “We are progressively rolling this out. We have started speaking to some advisers about it but will be rolled out more widely by July. 

"More widely, we are putting in place a programme of activity to help advisers understand how they might need to change their business to cope with consumer duty. There is a huge educational piece needed."

The mutual is also focusing on developing Wealth Wizards, which it bought in 2021, to help IFAs digitise their business.

O'Dwyer said: "As the world becomes digital and the IFAs face bigger and bigger competitors - banks or vertically integrated firms - we want to give whole-of-market IFAs a competitive edge. 

"If we can help them digitise and scale their business, we can empower them to take on bigger and new competitors."

Royal London is already starting to have conversations with IFAs as to how to use that capability more widely, scale their business and meet consumer duty obligations.

Kevin Parry, chairman, commented: "This year will see the introduction of the FCA’s new consumer duty which aims to deliver higher standards of care across  the industry.

"Royal London will fulfil the requirements of the duty when it is brought in and our programme of work is well underway."

O'Dwyer added another key focus for 2023 will be the enhancement of technology to support Royal London Asset Management's plans to broaden asset classes while extending our international  footprint.