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Consumer Duty - an overview

13 July 2022

Rightly or wrongly, the FCA believes there to be a general failure by authorised firms to provide retail consumers with products and services that meet their expectations. The Consumer Duty is the FCA's answer to the problem, with its stated aims of setting a higher expectation for the standard of care that firms give consumers. 

The FCA recognises that complying with this higher standard will require a "significant shift" in culture and behaviour for "many firms". In this light, the Consumer Duty has been described as being a "paradigm shift" by the FCA.

Cementing the 'outcomes based' strategy set by the FCA in its 2022 Business Plan, the Consumer Duty is comprised of three key elements: 

1. A new Principle for Business: the 'Consumer Principle' which requires firms to "act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers" 

2. "Cross-cutting rules" setting out three overarching behavioural expectations that apply across all areas of firm conduct 

3. "Four Outcomes", which are a suite of rules and guidance setting more detailed expectations for firms 

The FCA regards the Consumer Duty as key to the better functioning of the financial services sector in future and has warned that the Senior Managers & Certification Regime will be increasingly used to ensure compliance.

The Duty imposes a pro-active requirement, and firms will need to be 'ahead of the curve' if they are to avoid supervisory, or even enforcement action from the FCA. We are uniquely well placed with our combination of lawyers and regulatory consultants to help with any or all of your Consumer Duty needs. 

Whether you want ad hoc support in respect of specific issues, an independent third party review of plans and progress, or for us to work closely with your internal teams to manage and implement the Consumer Duty, DWF's team is able to help.

If you would like to discuss Consumer Duty and the impact it may have on your firm, please contact: Robbie Constance Head of Financial Services Regulatory, Andrew Jacobs Head of Regulatory Consulting or Richard Humphreys, Head of Consumer Credit, Regulatory,

To keep up to date with our experts' insights and detailed thought leadership, please keep an eye on our LinkedIn page. 

Time to take a temperature check on Consumer Duty?

The FCA's Consumer Duty - overview
Read our article to find out how the Consumer Duty could impact your firm.
SM&CR/Consumer Duty enforcement – a straw in the wind
The FCA have made it very clear that they intend to actively enforce the requirements of the Consumer Duty post July 2023. This will inevitably lead to enforcement activity against the Senior Managers of any authorised firm found to be in breach of the new requirements.
Complaints Handling under the Consumer Duty (Part 1 of 2)
The most common complaint we hear about complaints is the unpredictability of the Financial Ombudsman Service ("FOS") – and the difficulties that creates for firms handling complaints under DISP.
Small panel legislation
FCA issues 'Dear CEO letter' to CFD Firms on Consumer Duty
The FCA recently published a 'Dear CEO letter', addressed to firms offering contracts for difference (CFD) as part of its series of letters sent to different sectors on the Consumer Duty, and following on from its December 2022 letter covering its CFD Strategy.
The FCA is coming – look busy…!
Individuals responsible for the management of retail financial services firms are understandably concerned to know what the introduction of the Consumer Duty from 1 August 2023 will mean for them personally.
Consumer Duty: will the Duty to Notify become a game of hide and seek?
We discuss the newly announced duty to notify the FCA of breaches, or suspected breaches, of the Consumer Duty within its distribution chain. We explore their reminder of a firm's own PRIN 11 requirements as part of this Policy Statement and the likely practical effects.
The Financial Ombudsman Service and Consumer Duty – Cause for Concern? (Part 2 of 2)
The consumer financial services industry's current concerns about the decision making process at the FOS in its current guise are well-known.  The introduction of the Duty is likely to heighten those concerns, particularly if it leads to more apparently arbitrary interpretation of vague principles and the retrospective imposition of higher standards. 

More articles in this series

Wealth Management

Wealth Management

The Consumer Duty will affect all authorised firms dealing with retail clients; however, the specific affects are going to vary between the different regulated sub sectors. With this in mind, please see below our Consumer Duty articles with worked examples from the wealth management sector.


Consumer Credit

Consumer Credit

The Consumer Duty will affect all authorised firms dealing with retail clients; however, the specific effects are going to vary between the different regulated sub sectors. With this in mind, please see below our Consumer Duty articles for the consumer/SME funding' sector.


Consumer Duty Webinars

Consumer Duty Webinars

Watch recordings of webinars we have hosted for our clients and contacts.  If you have any queries on anything discussed, please contact our experts.

Consumer Duty Implementation
Watch our webinar with a focus on Consumer Duty, its goals and what firms should consider prior to the next Consumer Duty deadline in April 2023. 


Key contacts

Further Reading