TREATING CUSTOMERS FAIRLY (TCF)
We hope that you will find these pages useful and that you will gain an insight into how SMO Ltd feel that TCF can be integrated into best working practices for both ourselves and our customers.
If Treating Customers Fairly is not to be confused with good customer service, then what is it?
This has been a common response since the FCA first announced its initiative of TCF. On the face of it, it seems a reasonable enough question, but TCF is much more than simply good customer service and the FCA have specified some clear aims and desirable outcomes to help with the distinction;
To help customers fully understand the features, benefits, risks and costs of the financial products they buy.
To minimise the sale of unsuitable products by encouraging best practise, before during and after a sale.
Consumers should be sure that;
They are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is a key part of the corporate culture.
They are marketed and sold retail products that are designed to meet their needs and have been marketed accordingly.
They receive clear information and are kept suitably informed, before, during, and after the point of sale.
They receive suitable advice which takes account of their personal circumstances.
They receive the product performance and standard of service that they have been led to expect from the firms they deal with.
They do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms when they want to change product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint.
Although we do not give advice our helpdesk will always aim to put you in touch with an FCA authorised mortgage adviser who can provide you with options aimed at helping you satisfy your needs.
The Directors and Senior Management of SMO Ltd are committed to ensuring that the FCA principle of treating customers fairly (TCF) is applied in all areas of our day to day business activities. Where our function is to purely to put you in touch with a regulated broker we will apply the principles to our dealings with that broker ‘our customer’.
In adopting the TCF principle we recognise that fair treatment of our customers is about adding value to the service we offer by aiming to:
Protect the interests of our customers at each stage of the product life cycle, from promotion right through to after sales service
Meet as best we can the unique needs of each customer by offering a transparent, efficient and professional service, and constantly reviewing our service to identify areas for improvement
In practical terms for the different areas of our business this means:
Ensuring that promotional material is clear, compliant, jargon free and appropriately targeted.
Ensuring that sales staff (both on and off-site) have thorough training on all products they advise on or sell, understand who they are and aren’t suitable for, and are encouraged to challenge product providers where they spot inconsistencies, ambiguities or potential unfairness in the product literature or product features.
Operating sales remuneration systems which assure fairness to the customer as well as customer satisfaction, rather than only rewarding sales volumes.
Finding ways to encourage non-sales staff to implement TCF in their day to day business activities.
Ensuring that customer complaints are assessed fairly, promptly and impartially, and in line with FSA deadlines and rules.
Encouraging staff to recommend improvements to service following customer complaints – and monitoring the outcome.
Ensuring that staff are kept up to date with relevant training in relation to competence, data protection and other matters directly affecting the quality of service offered to customers.
Offering regular training in the principle of TCF at all levels of the business.
Regularly monitoring and reporting on all of the above TCF activities as part of the company’s monthly statistics/MI, in order to assess TCF performance across the business and recommend changes where appropriate.
Ensuring that TCF values, which are set and communicated by Senior Management, are supported by all staff and understood in the same way.
Treating You Fairly
The following pages are examples of adviser good practice and fit well with our ethos of TCF. We are happy for all of our introducers to adopt them.
When you do business with us we want you to feel confident that you are being treated fairly. We want you to understand all the parts of the product you are buying. If you are not sure about something we want to make it easy for you to ask for an explanation.
Remember To Give Us Full Information
We need you to declare all of your financial commitments so that your adviser can accurately source on lenders criteria
If you needs a mortgage on which you only pay the interest (an ’interest only’ mortgage), we need you to tell your adviser how you plan to repay the balance.
We want your adviser to make it Absolutely clear what they are offering. For example, the conditions of the business, including rates, charges, likely timescales and so on
We want your adviser to deliver what they say they will deliver. We want you to get exactly what you are expecting without surprises
We want to sort out any problems that may arise along the way. If anything goes wrong, we want you to feel confident that we will do everything we can to put it right
We want to be fair and not take advantage. Your adviser will make sure you understand the product before you buy it.
Your Advisers Duties to You and Us
They will only suggest products which most closely fit your needs. They will not source products based on how much money they will make, but on how suitable they are for you.
They will only suggest products which are affordable. They will not suggest a product if they do not think you can realistically keep up with the payments.
We will make it easy for you to complain if you are not happy. We encourage all customers to give us feedback, whether it is good or bad. We want to be the best we possibly can be and can only improve if you tell us when we get it wrong
How to Complain
YOUR GUIDE TO THE COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
If you have a complaint about your advisers’ service, please tell them and us. We want to make sure that things are put right ideally first time. With the help of your comments we can continually improve our services.
Our complaints procedure has three steps for you to follow when you make a complaint. Whilst we are not regulated by the organisations we have decided to follow these best practices This 3-step approach is recommended as best practice within the mortgage industry.
The 3 steps are as follows; –
You are asked to contact your adviser at the location which has given you the service you want to complain about. They can usually sort out the complaint straight away. If they cannot they must acknowledge your complaint in writing within 5 days of receipt, and tell you how long it will take before they can give you an answer unless :
- the complaint is resolved within 24 hours to your satisfaction
- the Final Response can be issued within this timeframe.
Normally your complaint will be resolved within 28 calendar days, however if this is not possible you will be sent a letter stating when you will receive a response and also explaining your rights to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service should this be necessary.
If the complaint cannot be resolved satisfactorily within Step 1
You can elevate your complaint to the SMO Ltd to request a review and seek resolution.
If you want to put your complaint in writing please address it to :
If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint, the Financial Ombudsman Service may be of assistance. You must take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, if you are not satisfied with your advisers’ response within 6 months of the issuing of a Final Response Letter. They must will supply you with a leaflet explaining the role of The Ombudsman and how they will address your complaint.
The Financial Ombudsman Service can be contacted at:
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
Telephone: 0845 080 1800