Chris Read explains how modern portals can help ensure new Consumer Duty obligations are fully discharged by providers and platforms

By 31 July, in just a few months’ time, providers and platforms will need to have systems and processes in place for gathering and analysing a great deal more data about their policyholders with a view to discharging their new Consumer Duty-linked responsibilities efficiently, effectively and in a way that can be audited by the regulator if necessary.

In essence, providers, platforms and advisory firms will have to do the following with a view to achieving better outcomes for customers:

  1. Provide clear and timely information about the products and savings they have so they can make informed decisions without delay.
  2. Check and note the engagement levels of their customers by keeping track of what they have read and understood.
  3. Ensure products are still meeting customer needs as their circumstances (potentially) change.
  4. Recommend alternatives where legacy products are out of line with known customer needs.
  5. Improve customer service elements – ensuring that customers can communicate with their financial product providers through preferred channels when they really need to.
  6. Ensure the customer is getting fair value for the products and service for which they are paying.

Consumer Duty presents a threat to providers and platforms if they do not serve their customers in a more direct, interactive, meaningful and effective way. They must work harder to really ‘Know Their Customers’ and act on any new knowledge to steer policyholders away from poor financial outcomes.

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