Close Brothers completes ‘biggest regulatory support programme ever’ to support brokers prepare for the Consumer Duty

21 August 2023 News Read time 2m


Close Brothers Premium Finance (CBPF) has completed a five month awareness campaign to assist all 1500 of its broking partners in the UK and Northern Ireland ahead of the new FCA Consumer Duty, which came onstream on 31 July.


Allen Seldon, director of product and proposition, said that feedback from the exercise underlined the importance brokers attached to receiving support from the lender as the market prepared for another significant change to the regulatory market.


The Consumer Duty sets higher and clearer standards of consumer protection across financial services, including insurance, and requires firms to put their customers' needs first, with particular attention paid to the needs of vulnerable customers. 


He explained that a raft of material has been briefed into partner brokers using omni-channel communications, including leaflets, video animations, and brokers also had access to online resources including FAQs and a supporting guide and infographic. Brokers can also access the assessments CBPF completed to ensure its products offer customers fair value via the online hub. 


The team has also made extensive use of social media for the first time, as well as organising a series of subject-specific webinars for broker partners. CBPF has also used its new technology Salesforce and Pardot to track broker activity and encourage them to take action. 

Allen said: “We have been really pleased with the rate of engagement. We sent nearly 14,000 emails to our broker base, and our average open rate for emails was nearly 40% (against an industry benchmark of 28%). 


“Our social media generated a 6.2% engagement rate, well ahead of the 2-3% industry standard benchmark. It shows the level of interest in the Consumer Duty among brokers and the willingness to access our information.”


Allen added: “This has been the biggest most comprehensive information exercise CBPF has ever mounted in respect of changes to the regulatory regime. Over the last five months, we sent out a series of engaging emails to our broker partners, providing them with regulatory support and directing them to useful resources that have helped them to navigate their business through the requirements of the new Duty."


Allen explained that to prepare for the Consumer Duty, CBPF reviewed its entire suite of customer comms, developed a Writing for Customers guide based on the FCA guidance, and put sample letters through extensive consumer testing. 


“Our testing with end consumers showed that the new letters had improved readability * scores from 56 to 66 where 60 is considered a good score for reading ease.” As a result, these will form the basis of all of our updated customer communications.”

 Allen concluded: “Consumer Duty is an evolution of the rules, but it is one CBPF strongly supports as a means of bringing much needed improvements to the insurance customer journey.”

“It is important that our partners know they can rely on their supplier to do the heavy lifting in order to make their own journey to the new regime as hassle free as possible.” 

“We’re delighted to be able to support our brokers in this way, and we will continue to work with them to support good customer outcomes under the Consumer Duty regime.” 

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