On 17 July 2018, the FCA published FCA Mission: Approach to consumers which outlines the regulator’s approach to consumers (the document).

The document follows on from the FCA’s Future Approach to Consumers consultation paper which discussed the regulator’s approach to regulating for retail consumers. The FCA sets out in the document its vision for well-functioning markets for consumers. Annex A to the document contains a Feedback Statement to the earlier FCA consultation paper.

The FCA states in the document that to provide clarity on its expectations of firms and ensure good outcomes for all consumers, particularly vulnerable consumers, it plans to consult early next year on guidance for firms on the identification and treatment of vulnerable consumers. The guidance is intended to explain the FCA’s expectations and will help firms meet them. The FCA will also use the guidance, once issued, to inform its supervisory and enforcement work and it will monitor how firms are supporting vulnerable consumers, and making practical changes to secure necessary improvements.

The FCA also notes that in its consultation paper (and Mission 2017) it committed itself to produce a discussion paper to explore the potential merits of a duty of care as part of its Handbook Review following the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019.

The FCA has now published its discussion paper on the duty care. The FCA is inviting contributions from all interested parties on the case for and against introducing a duty of care on firms and seeking views on what form such a provision might take, as well as consequential issues arising from adopting it. It also wishes to understand what a new duty of care for firms might do to enhance good conduct and culture in financial services, and how this could influence consumer outcomes, alongside the senior managers’ and certification regime. The deadline for comments on the discussion paper is 2 November 2018.