Good conduct and customer outcomes
Good conduct and customer outcomes
We put customers at the heart of everything we do and our regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), expects this of us too.
The FCA’s ‘Principles for Business’ sets out the main regulatory expectations that apply to all authorised firms. They state, for example, that a firm must:
- Conduct itself with integrity, care and diligence;
- Have in place adequate systems and controls;
- Have effective risk management systems in place;
- Pay due regard to customers and treat them fairly;
- Communicate with customers in a way that is fair and not misleading;
- Manage conflicts of interest.
You can find out more about these “Principles for Business”, and what the FCA can do for consumers on their website.
The above principles serve as the foundation of our policy of paying due regard to our customers and ensuring fair customer outcomes.
At Retirement Advantage we have 11 principles we follow to help achieve this.
- We will consider the impact on customer outcomes in everything we do.
- We will be open and honest with customers at all times and will act with integrity in our dealings with them.
- We will communicate with customers in plain language.
- We will ensure that policy terms and conditions are followed in every case, other than where that would conflict with our aim of ensuring fair customer outcomes.
- We will consider the rights and needs of all customers when designing products and regularly review them and monitor their performance against customers’ expectations.
- We will only promote our products to customers for whom we believe them to be appropriate or potentially appropriate.
- We will ensure that the charges we apply to our products are clear and fair.
- We will ensure that all advisers selling our products receive the necessary information in order to understand them and their appropriateness for customers.
- We will not accept business from advisers if we have reason to believe they are not carrying on their business in accordance with our principles of good conduct and fair customer outcomes.
- We will seek to improve the customer experience and will learn from our mistakes.
- We will regularly review these principles and ensure our employees understand and follow them.
Stonehaven UK Ltd t/a Retirement Advantage is also a member of the Equity Release Council and adheres to their Statement of Principles.
Their Statement of Principles state that members must:
- Allow customers to remain in their property for life or until they need to move into long-term care, provided the property remains their main residence and they abide by the terms and conditions of their contract;
- Provide customers with fair, simple and complete presentations and explanations of their plans. This means that the benefits and limitations of the product together with any obligations on the part of the customer are clearly set out in their literature. It should include all costs that the customer has to bear in setting up the plan as well as the tax implications, what will happen if they wish to move to another property and the effects of changes in house values on their loan;
- Allow customers the right to move their plan to another suitable property without any financial penalty;
- Give customers the right to an independent solicitor of their own choice to conduct their legal work. Before the plan is completed, their solicitor will be provided with full details of the plan, including the rights and obligations of both parties (they and their product provider) under the contract, should they choose to go ahead. Both they and their solicitor will be required to sign a certificate confirming that these rights and obligations have been explained to them and that they wish to enter into the plan;
- Provide customers with interest rates which are fixed or, if they are variable, have a “cap” (upper limit) which is fixed for the life of the loan;
- Give customers a no negative equity guarantee on all equity release plans. This means that when their property is sold, and agents’ and solicitors’ fees have been paid, even if the amount left is not enough to repay the outstanding loan to their provider, neither they nor their estate will be liable to pay any more.