NatWest and Consumer Duty
In July 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed plans to bring in a Consumer Duty which is intended to increase the current level of consumer protection and raise industry standards for how UK financial services firms serve their customers and meet their needs. At NatWest Group we are working on implementing the new rules which come into effect on 31st July 2023 for all new and existing retail products and services that are currently on sale and on 31st July 2024 for products that are no longer on sale or available for renewal.
What is NatWest Group doing about Consumer Duty?
Recognising its close alignment to our purpose-led strategy, NatWest Group views delivering good customer outcomes as an objective shared with all of our stakeholders including our regulators. Taking action to identify any existing gaps we have in meeting the new Consumer Duty continues to be a top priority for the organisation. We place importance on achieving good customer outcomes and are supportive of moving from prescriptive consumer conduct rules to principles-based outcomes which rightly place the onus on firms to ensure their customers are making financial decisions best suited to their needs.
We have committed significant investment to ensure that any action taken is managed holistically across NatWest Group and with the different customer journeys considered. As such each of the bank’s businesses that have products and services in scope of the Duty are being managed under the banner of a single implementation programme, to identify where we need to make changes to provide evidence of compliance with the guidelines. Our approach to implementation in this way is helping to make sure we meet both the letter and spirit of the regulation and that this is reflected not just in our policies and procedures, but culturally across the organisation as well.
We continue to meet regularly with our regulators to collaborate on approach as well as ensuring they are fully apprised of our implementation progress. Going forward, Consumer Duty will continue to feature regularly as an agenda item on NatWest Group's most senior committees and ensure a retained focus on challenging our approach and delivering good customer outcomes.
What this means for our customers
At a time when our customers need us most, it’s more important than ever that we have the right level of focus on supporting them. Consumer Duty is good news for us and our customers - putting their needs at the heart of what we do and helping them to succeed at all stages of their lives.