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Firms to embed the fair treatment of customers within its culture
by Madeleine Coetzee - Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 10:05 AM
 

Article by: Financial Planning Institute of Sourthern Africa

Financial services consumers are particularly vulnerable to unfair treatment. Financial products and services are of such a nature that the negative consequences of unfair treatment or poor decisions on the consumer may only be felt some time after transacting. This, coupled with low levels of both basic and financial literacy, increases the risk of consumer exploitation in the South African Financial Services Sector.

TCF is a holistic, co-ordinated consumer protection regulatory framework that is to be applied across the financial services sector, and which aims to address the specific conduct risks peculiar to the sector. As a regulatory approach, TCF seeks to ensure that specific fairness outcomes for financial services customers are delivered by financial institutions.

There are six TCF fairness outcomes, all of which focus on the needs of the financial services customer. Amongst other things, it is essential that firms embed the fair treatment of customers within the culture. Products and services marketed and sold will need to meet the needs of customer groups and be targeted accordingly. Information supplied to customers must be clear, transparent and up to date. Advice given will be expected to be suitable in the circumstances. Complaints should be easily made and customers will need to be supported at all stages of transacting.

The intention is that delivery of these specific outcomes will ensure the supply of appropriate financial products and services to customers, as well as enhance the transparency and discipline of financial institutions, ultimately resulting in improved customer confidence.  

 


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