Competitive Streak - Turning Consumer Duty into Opportunities

Financial Advisory

22 June 2023

AdviceAdvisory DistributorsCommunicationConsumer DutyDataFinancial Advisoryvalue

Expert: Tom Hawkins, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Charles Stanley Facilitator: Ben Wright, Director Change Squared


  1. Consumer Duty has made it impossible to “just keep doing the same thing” and is forcing firms to rethink their business model
  2. The explanation of advice needs to change
  3. Smaller firms will struggle to have the budget to implement Consumer Duty
  4. Value is subjective - the only way to find out if clients value the services firms are providing is to ask them


Firms now have to document how they are providing good value and support, which requires them to really think whether they are.

The requirement to review if their service has produced good results means more data is required than ever before.

There was support from delegates to make suitability reports much easier to understand. This varied from a summary page on the report to a creating video summary with the written report as an addendum. Others wanted to go further and get rid of suitability reports all together and find a new way to convey the advice to clients in a much more engaging way.

Delegates shared the budgets/teams they had set aside for Consumer Duty and were all worried how smaller, directly authorised firms would be able to dedicate enough time/resources.

The room expected a number of smaller DA firms to either join a larger organisation (network/national) or leave the industry under the pressure to change from CD.

There was a feeling that better education for clients is needed to help them understand value. VouchedFor data suggests that 95% of clients rate their advisers as 4-star or 5-star for value, yet only 80% understand how they pay for advice.

Clients have different communication preferences. Firms need to tailor communications to clients’ requirements. Assigning personas to clients was discussed as a way of more easily selecting how they are communicated with. There was an increase in having multiple formats of communications (email, podcast, letter, etc) to meet the needs of different clients.

Advisers value clear structure, execution and doing what was promised over performance from fund providers. Whilst performance played a part, it was more important for providers to do what they said they would and have acceptable performance.

Key takeaways:

  • Providers can help advisers with communications - making strategic partnerships is more important than ever
  • The concept of proportionality talked about by the regulator in relation to Consumer Duty is welcomed by the industry
  • The FCA need to spend time working with smaller DA firms to check they have the support needed to implement Consumer Duty – don’t just focus on networks and nationals