The FSA is to begin visiting brokers and undertake telephone assessments to test their progress in implementing its Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) initiative.

The regulator said the move aimed to help firms make faster progress in meeting the TCF target, and to identify more quickly those firms most in need of regulatory attention.

It expects to carry out full on-site visits to approximately a quarter of firms.

The FSA has already set a deadline of the end of December 2008 for firms to demonstrate that they are treating their customers fairly.

FSA chief executive Hector Sants said: “Small firms are making progress on TCF, but we would like to help them accelerate the process.

“We are increasing contact with small firms to improve the rate of this change and to enable them to help customers better.”

It said the programme of assessments would extend beyond this deadline..

FSA in PPI crackdown

The FSA is to begin a crackdown on companies selling payment protection insurance (PPI) after a review found many firms had failed to improve their sales practices.
Four firms will be subject to further investigation and a further 20 cases may also be investigated, the FSA said.
The warning follows a review of 150 firms, including mystery shopping of personal loan providers.