Representatives from six major trade bodies agreed that the rules would add nothing new to what was already covered under existing legislation and would simply complicate the situation further.
UK Finance, the Building Societies Association (BSA), Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), Equity Release Council (ERC), Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) and Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI) all rounded on the FCA’s consultation published in July.
No shortage of rules
Speaking at the Financial Services Expo, BSA head of mortgage policy Paul Broadhead (pictured) highlighted that there have been a raft of new laws and regulations introduced since 2008 covering financial regulation, unfair trading and consumer rights.
And he added that the UK has the largest ombudsman service in the world looking at individual complaints.
“No I don’t believe it is required,” Broadhead said.
“To me the clear conclusion is there’s no shortage of rules, laws or duties to protect consumers in the UK so we don’t need that additional duty of care.
“Rather, where firms or individuals are responsible for unfair care of consumers we need a conduct regulator that deals with the situation both fairly and robustly, and that should negate the need for a further duty of care,” he added.
This was echoed by IMLA executive director Kate Davies who highlighted that contact law was another recourse and that the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles covered the situation suitably.
“If people are going to treat customers fairly then fine, but if not, it doesn’t matter how many rule books you throw at them it’s not going to make any difference,” she said.
“So introducing a new duty of care with more rules is not going to make any difference.”
All saying ‘No thank you’
UK Finance director of mortgages Jackie Bennett agreed with these statements and added concerns about unintended consequences.
“What is it that the consumer advocates who are pushing for this are not getting already?” she asked.
“On top of everything else, it could make firms even more cautious in terms of where they go, what innovation they take forward, how they operate and that’s not what we need right now.
“It does need to be looked at very carefully to ensure we don’t get those unintended consequences,” she added.
Summarising the panel’s agreement, AMI chief executive Robert Sinclair highlighted that this was an escalation to the senior managers regime.
“So we’re all going to say no thank you and AMI will be saying no thank you to it as well,” he said.