While the nature and scope of the Duty remains largely unchanged in most areas, the final rules and guidance contain some significant changes and clarifications relating to how the Duty will apply in relation to distribution chains, closed books, wholesale markets and funds and asset managers and where firms provide products or services to occupational pension schemes. Helpfully, firms have been given more time to implement the changes needed to comply with the Duty.
From a disputes perspective, the FCA kept its powder dry on the possibility of a private right of action for breaches of any part of the Duty, saying that the possibility was being kept under review following the initial consultation. Financial services firms will welcome confirmation that no private right of action has been incorporated in the final rules. Firms will still be accountable for any breach of the Duty through the Financial Ombudsman Service framework (which is now subject to increased award limits).
For a more detailed analysis of the final rules and timeframe for compliance, please see our FSR Notes blog post.