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Proactive financial services regulator is good news for consumers, says Which?

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As the Treasury outlines its plans for the new financial services regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Which? s Peter Vicary-Smith, says, "The ultimate purpose of regulation is to ensure that markets work well for consumers and we are delighted that the government has made this one of the Financial Conduct Authority's core functions. It is also encouraging that the new regulator looks set to ditch the FSA's hands-off approach to product regulation and be willing to intervene immediately to ban toxic products. The FCA must proactively stand up for the interests of consumers and actively promote competition, so that there are stronger incentives to treat customers fairly and offer good value for money."

 

Which? has identified a series of features it would like to see in the approach and policies of the Financial Conduct Authority:

 

  • The objective should be to ensure a fair, transparent and competitive market in financial services with a particular focus on protecting consumers and ensuring market integrity

  • A primary duty to promote effective competition and ensure that competition works to provide benefits to consumers

  • A more diverse board including more individuals with experience and knowledge of consumer issues

  • Product regulation-including the ability to set minimum standards and to ban toxic products

  • Greater accountability

  • Increased regulatory transparency including clear notification when the regulator takes action against misleading financial promotions

  • Higher fines that are a genuine deterrent with the revenue from these fines used in ways that benefit consumers rather than being passed back to the financial services industry

  • Powers to tackle unfair charges

  • Effective redress

Health insurance news: 22 February 2011