Strategic support on demand
2023 is set to be a challenging year for regulated firms, notably small & medium sized firms in the Consumer Credit and FinTech sectors. The introduction of the FCA Consumer Duty by July 2023 alongside tough trading conditions, where millions of consumers and micro-businesses are suffering from significant UK cost increases, needs careful resource planning.
Hot topics include:
Firms need to be able to demonstrate that they have the operational and financial resilience to continue trading in these demanding conditions, whilst undertaking significant business and digital transformations. Senior managers need to be able to demonstrate they have the capability and capacity to handle these demands.
We are here to help smooth demand for support and provide expert insight gained from many years in the consumer credit sector.
A new Principle 12 – “A firm must act to deliver good outcomes for retail clients”
From July 2023, Principles 6 and 7 won’t apply where Principle 12 applies for consumer credit firms and this reflects the overall standard of behaviour the FCA want to supervise, whether traditional or digital specialists.
Important role of Quality Assurance Frameworks
As well as acting to deliver ‘good customer outcomes’, firms will need to understand and evidence whether those outcomes are being met.
The Consumer Duty should be reflected in firms’ strategies, governance, leadership and people policies, including incentives at all levels. This will extend to Training & Competence Schemes and QA Frameworks.
Firms should have appropriate oversight of customer outcomes through their systems & controls. Risk management functions must pay attention to consumer risks and they should also be a key lens for internal audit.
Senior managers (SMFs) will be accountable for delivering good consumer outcomes within their areas of responsibility, in line with the SM&CR Duty of Responsibility and the Conduct Rules.
Kevin Still Consulting is able to support firms in meeting and integrating these requirements to tight deadlines.
Kevin Still Consulting has been trading since 2002. Since 2014, this has involved considerable regulatory compliance work when the FCA took over from the OFT in the supervision of consumer credit firms, including those operating in the consumer credit, debt management, debt collection, debt purchasing and BPO sectors. The FCA Consumer Duty (PS22/9) is now a priority for many regulated firms, as is the requirement to adapt to hybrid working and integrating digital engagement. Kevin is a NED for the Vulnerability Registration Service (VRS) and supports a number of initiatives around inclusive service design, including international kitemark ISO 22458 (consumer vulnerability).
Kevin has supported a number of public/private sector collaborations and helped small businesses tender for government contracts (e.g. Crown Commercial Services, MaPS, HMRC). Social Value, covering use of disruptive technologies (e.g. AI/ML, open banking, speech analytics) and cyber-security/resilience (e.g. ISO 27001, Cyber Essentials Plus) are increasingly important factors in compliant bids.
Kevin Still is a member of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) and has been in the Credit 500 for 3 years as a director of the Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA). He is on the FCA register as a senior manager function, including Compliance Oversight. He has acted as DPO for several firms. He has been MRLO for several regulated firms where he has developed AML and Financial Crime policies and procedures, as part of wider Risk Management Framework and Compliance Monitoring Plans.
COVID-19 recovery schemes and dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on working practices, including Workforce Management, were very topical through 2020 and into 2021. The cost-of-living crisis is now at the forefront the regulatory agenda along with ESG, including workplace wellbeing.
Kevin Still Consulting is actively involved in key developments in the credit industry through working with trade bodies and leading providers in the sector. This has included global systems integrators (e.g. Capgemini). As a DEMSA director, he is part of the Fairness Group. DEMSA also support Innovate UK projects.
Work is provided on a time & materials basis or as a statement-of-work. Assignments can be a blend of onsite and remote working, where virtual meetings are currently the norm. A very experienced project/programme manager and company director.