The UK's financial services regulator has praised larger financial services providers for taking the first steps towards treating customers fairly when selling financial products such as loans, mortgages and insurance.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) reported that 93 per cent of major firms met a compliance deadline on its Treating Customers Fairly scheme, while 59 per cent of smaller, independent financial advisers failed to do so.
Consumer body Which? warned the failure by many firms, particularly smaller ones, to meet the regulator's first-phase compliance deadlines was "a real cause for concern".
People buying financial products over the coming months could end up buying unknowingly from a company which "isn't up to scratch" on fair treatment compliance, it warned.
But the Association of Independent Financial Advisers (AIFA) stressed that failing to meet the deadline simply meant the firms concerned had not yet drawn up a plan for fairer treatment of customers.
Some of those which performed best at this stage could later fall behind as they face the challenges of implementation, AIFA explained.
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