Is there a difference between a fair outcome and fairness? The question arises because the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) expects the financial services industry to treat its customers fairly (hence the TCF acronym) but the regulations only mandate fair outcomes. Judging by the public outcry over the Momentum/Ganas rulings late in 2018 , they are not the same. The TCF regulations were introduced to raise the industry’s standard of conduct — morality if you will — and restore trust in a sector that has a reputation for profiteering off the public’s financial knowledge gap. We safely predict that TCF will achieve neither, simply because the fundamental conflict of interest that underlies financial services cannot be resolved with woolly ideals. The conflict arises because the industry and its customer must share the return that is earned off the customer’s capital. That rarely works out well for the client. To understand the dynamics involved, imagine having to share a piec...

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