The proposed duty sets higher expectations for the standard of care firms provide to their customers. It goes beyond the concept of Treating Customers Fairly and asks firms to put themselves in their customers’ shoes to better understand whether outcomes are truly better from the customers’ perspective. Areas of focus include communications, products and services, customer service and price and value.
In a policy paper published today the UK’s largest mutual life and pensions provider said the duty should be embraced as an opportunity rather than a challenge but added that good customer outcomes are about more than addressing product concerns and that issues such as impact on the environment should also be included.
Royal London’s director of policy and external affairs Jamie Jenkins, said: “If I saved all my life in a suitable pension product with good service, good returns and some timely guidance and advice then I may on the face of it have a very good retirement outcome; a decent pension pot and plenty of options to fund my later years.
“But if my house floods every year due to ever deteriorating weather conditions, or the city I live in is so polluted I can’t venture outside, then it won’t be a great outcome at all.”
He added: “Given that people’s savings can be invested in ways that will help avert those problems, then we must consider our responsibility not just to the product we offer but our contribution to the environment people will live in when they reach retirement. Ultimately, we should be helping people achieve a good standard of living.”