Discretionary Commission Arrangements - Complaints and Refunds

You do not need to use a Claims Management Company. You can make the claim directly to the lender and if they reject your complaint you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service free of charge, but you must do this within 6 months of the lenders Final Decision Letter.

Understanding Discretionary Commission and the FCA's Ban

In the world of motor finance, a term you might come across is "discretionary commission." It sounds fancy, but what does it really mean, and why did the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) decide to ban it? Let's break it down in simple terms.

First off, what is discretionary commission? Well, when you're buying a car and you need financing, you might go through a dealership or a finance broker. These intermediaries help you find a loan that suits your needs. Now, in some cases, these intermediaries get paid a commission by the lender for arranging the loan. Discretionary commission means that the amount of commission they earn can vary depending on the interest rate they get you to agree to.

So, here's where the conflict of interest comes in. Imagine you're the intermediary, and you have the power to set the interest rate on the loan. The higher the interest rate, the more commission you earn. This might tempt some intermediaries to push for higher interest rates, even if it's not the best deal for the customer. After all, they're looking out for their own bottom line.

But what about the customers? They might not realize that the interest rate they're being offered isn't the best they could get. They trust the intermediary to find them a good deal, but if the intermediary is more focused on their commission than the customer's best interests, that trust is broken.

That's why the FCA stepped in. They're the regulatory body that oversees financial services in the UK, and they're responsible for making sure that customers are treated fairly. After investigating the motor finance industry, they found evidence of this conflict of interest and decided to take action.

In January 2021, the FCA announced a ban on discretionary commission models in the motor finance industry. This means that intermediaries can no longer receive commissions that are linked to the interest rate charged to the customer. Instead, they have to be paid a flat fee or a percentage of the loan amount, so there's no incentive for them to push for higher interest rates.

So, why did the FCA ban discretionary commission? It all comes down to protecting customers. By removing the financial incentive for intermediaries to charge higher interest rates, the FCA hopes to ensure that customers get fairer deals and are treated more transparently.

In summary, discretionary commission in the motor finance industry allowed intermediaries to earn more money by charging customers higher interest rates. This created a conflict of interest where intermediaries might prioritize their own commissions over the best interests of their customers. To address this issue and protect consumers, the FCA banned discretionary commission models, ensuring a fairer and more transparent lending process for everyone involved.