Guidance is now available on how to implement the outcomes of Treating Customers Fairly
Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), which provides regulated financial firms with rules around the fair treatment of customers, was first introduced 2010. However, many trustees remain uncertain about how to embed the principles into retirement fund structures and decision-making processes. To help, the FSB has now issued a guidance note to boards of retirement funds on how to implement the TCF outcomes.
Most of the TCF outcomes are already entrenched in other legislation
In the guidance note, the FSB confirms that they are adopting an ‘incremental approach’ to TCF and is not planning a single launch date. This is supported by the fact that existing legislation already contains many of the principles of TCF. For example, the Pension Funds Act requires that trustees take all reasonable steps to ensure that the interests of members are protected at all times, and that they act with due care, diligence and in good faith. Failure to deliver on one or more of the TCF outcomes will therefore in most cases already constitute a breach of your obligations as a trustee as set out in the Pension Funds Act. This means that no regulatory changes are needed for the FSB to start enforcing TCF principles as part of its supervisory approach. In fact, the FSB has indicated that, when conducting on-site visits and investigating complaints or business practices, the focus will be on the fair treatment of customers.
What should you be doing to continuously embed the six TCF outcomes in your fund?
According the FSB guidance note, retirement funds must demonstrate the following to comply with TCF:
A good start is to ask certain questions about your fund and its members
The FSB has developed an online self-assessment tool to measure your TCF readiness
To support trustees in embedding the principles of TCF, the FSB has developed an online self-assessment tool for funds and administrators to measure their TCF readiness. This tool is available on www.fsb.co.za – we encourage you to try this out.
As a trustee, you must take responsibility for implementing TCF
TCF is ultimately about a commitment to a culture of fair treatment. Although it is possible to outsource operational actions to another party to achieve this , it is important to understand that as a trustee, you, along with the rest of the trustees on the board are accountable to the FSB for adhering to the TCF outcomes.
Please take a moment to give us your suggestions