SMEs lagging behind in the implementation of Financial Services Authority (FSA) guidelines need to meet newly-proposed deadlines - or face "tough action", the FSA says.The FSA has announced a new deadline, the end of December, by which all companies must have implemented all recommended measures on its Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) initiative. A study into current levels of progress show that 93 per cent of major retail firms, 87 per cent of medium sized retail firms, 74 per cent of wholesale firms and only 41 per cent of SME met a recent March FSA deadline. "We are encouraged that senior management in very many firms are showing strong commitment to TCF and are rising to the challenge of a more principles-based approach to regulation," Sarah Wilson, FSA director responsible for TCF, commented. "Following the report we will intensify our supervisory focus on any firm that has failed to sufficiently engage with TCF and include the use of enforcement where necessary. Most particularly, in addition to all that is already available to them, we will increase our efforts to assist small firms. Given their size and structure these firms can make rapid progress if they engage."The FSA says that it will introduce a range of new online tools and regional workshops to help small firms cope with the principles of TCF.© Adfero Ltd