Regulation  

Will tech help or hinder compliance with the consumer duty?

This article is part of
Guide to the consumer duty

The consumer duty sees the introduction of a 12th principle that requires firms to act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers.

However, core back office systems will not facilitate all the data required, says Warren.

“Firms require a data strategy to analyse the metrics they need to produce, understand the sources of that data, and build detailed dashboards from these sources," he adds.

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“What is universal is to have data structured and accessible in a manner that supports the development of MI that draws disparate sources together to enable reporting and insight. This will require the variety of systems, particularly the range of platforms, used by adviser firms to make firms’ data readily accessible and consumable.

“No longer is it reasonable to expect advisers to create different reports manually across the range of platforms they use. Creation of reports and dashboards could be through an enterprise tool such as Microsoft Power BI, or achieved through spreadsheets, depending on the nature of the business.”

If financial advice firms can use technology to automate the non-value-add parts of the advice process, Warren says this will reduce costs and help evidence fair value.

“Customer relationship management systems are also facilitating personalisation and proactive engagement at scale, which will help the customer support outcome,” he adds.

“Good fact-find solutions exist that can assess customers' understanding of risk and ascertain whether the client fits the firms’ target market definition.

"Voice and speech analytics exist that use artificial intelligence to monitor and report on customer interactions and therefore outcomes, while some excellent tools have been developed to support servicing clients with characteristics of vulnerability.”

Meanwhile Chris Jones, proposition director at Dynamic Planner, warns that retaining or choosing technology that is intended to streamline a sale without enabling the customer to make an informed choice, that does not adapt to the varying support needs of the customer or continue to support them throughout their journey, would be failing the duty.

“The duty applies throughout the distribution chain and the product life cycle,” says Jones. “Technology should transfer consistent manufacturer information through to the distributor, and also genuine customer needs and characteristics from the distributor to the manufacturer.”

Chloe Cheung is a senior features writer at FTAdviser