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 have been working on implementing the new rules which came 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?

The FCA’s Consumer Duty regulation came into force for existing and new products and services in July 2023.

We operated a programme that established appropriate standards, tools and frameworks to ensure we deliver good outcomes to retail customers across NatWest Group. The work has built on an existing customer-centred approach established in our strategy and supported by our values and expected behaviours.

In line with regulatory expectations, we have an appointed Consumer Duty Board Champion, and the NatWest Group Board and Executive Committee received regular progress updates and provided challenge and oversight on progress to the July 2023 deadline.

Product and service owners undertook reviews of the outcomes they provide customers and assessments of the value customers receive. Those insights have translated into actions across NatWest Group to meet both the spirit and substance of the regulation by the key regulatory milestone of July 2023.

Similar work continues to meet the further deadline for products and services no longer available to new customers by the end of July 2024, with plans put in place by our product and service owners.

Our response to the regulation has been wide and outcomes-focused, and has been subject to ongoing scrutiny at regular meetings with the FCA.

Beyond the review of our products and services, our response to Consumer Duty has included:

  • Building an enduring capability for our product owners to use numerous data points to test and manage outcomes that our customers receive
  • Updated product governance, to ensure all products and services are delivered in line with Consumer Duty expectations.
  • Training over 97% of our colleagues on Consumer Duty and its expectations, with specialist training delivered to product owners, customer journey teams, marketing and customer-facing colleagues.
  • Updates to Our Code, to specify that colleagues ‘must act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers’.
  • Training for our Board, supported by external expertise.
  • Alignment of Consumer Duty within our Senior Managers and Certification Regime and remuneration frameworks.
  • Questions included in our colleague engagement survey, Our View, to assess the ongoing awareness of and engagement with the delivery of good customer outcomes.
  • Establishing a Good Customer Outcomes Centre of Expertise to ensure we continue to learn and grow in our demonstration of good outcomes beyond July 2024.

What this means for our customers

We aim to ensure that products are designed to deliver good customer outcomes.

As part of our product and service development, we make sure that:

  • the target market is identified to a sufficiently granular level and aligned to a specific product strategy
  • the proposal meets the needs and financial objectives of customers in the target market while avoiding financial harm
  • the distribution strategy works for the identified target market
  • the proposal is designed to benefit the customer and deliver fair value
  • customers in the target market will be able to understand the product or service and its features and will be appropriately supported throughout its lifecycle
  • consideration is given to the voice of the customer.

Further materials

More detail on the changes that Consumer Duty will bring can be found within the FCA’s website, which you can access below.