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Most clients do not feel treated fairly, research finds

Most clients do not feel treated fairly, research finds

More than half of Britons believe financial services companies treat them unfairly, according to a survey conducted by customer engagement group Maru/edr.

In a poll of 1,000 British consumers, it found 52 per cent of people felt financial services firms treated them unfairly, while just 45 per cent claimed they had been asked for feedback by their financial services providers.

The study was designed to test whether customers felt that providers were honouring their obligations under the Financial Conduct Authority’s Treating Customers Fairly policy, which requires firms to ensure the fair treatment of their clients.

"Customer feedback is vital for brands looking to protect and grow their market share. Yet for financial brands, customer feedback holds even more value in both improving services and demonstrating FCA compliance," Steve Brockway, chief research officer at Maru/edr, said.

"There’s clearly an appetite from customers to have their voices heard – the growth of review sites is testament to the expanding feedback culture we now live in. But financial services brands are clearly currently missing a huge opportunity leaving customers feeling unfairly treated."

The survey found just 30 per cent of those polled gave a "high" rating for the communications from their provider, although 48 per cent felt these communications were relevant and held personal appeal.

Tony Sutton, managing director of mortgage broking group Specialist Financial Services, said the levels of provider service and communications had improved significantly over the past decade.

He explained: "Treating Customers Fairly is now embedded in the culture of every financial services firm that is regulated by the FCA, so I am surprised by the findings of this survey.

"Within the intermediary market, I would say that communications are now good, albeit a little over-the-top at times, because of the huge amount of paperwork that we are obliged to offer our clients by the regulator."

Mr Sutton acknowledged the importance of client feedback in maintaining a corporate culture that fits with the treating customers fairly ethos.

He added: "We have asked for feedback since 2005 on every single transaction, to ensure that anything negative is flagged. Competition out there is fierce, so client feedback is essential."