Protecting consumers

Discover how we protect consumers from the harm that can be caused by bad conduct in the financial services industry.

From bank accounts to mortgages, credit cards, loans, savings and pensions, virtually every adult in the UK is a consumer of financial services, and one of our objectives is to ensure an appropriate degree of protection for all consumers. 

Our work to protect consumers covers a wide range of activities. We act to ensure that a firm has its customers at the heart of how it does business, giving them appropriate products and services, and putting their protection above profits or remuneration.

To make sure consumers are protected and treated fairly, we monitor which firms and individuals are able to enter the financial markets, making sure that they meet our standards before we authorise them.

We then supervise how they work and can stop those that are not meeting our standards from carrying out the activities that we regulate.

Where we find that firms are not following our rules, we intervene. This can mean stepping in to impose penalties, to stop them from trading or to secure redress, and ensure that consumers receive the information they need in the right way, so they can make the best decisions for themselves. Our crime prevention work includes our ScamSmart campaign, which targets those most at risk of investment fraud, providing tools to help investors actively check investments they have been offered out of the blue. We also encourage consumers to report to us where they see potential harm or bad conduct. And we work with a network of consumer organisations to raise awareness of our campaigns and remit, and help inform our approach to regulation.

Consumer protection also helps supports healthy competition and integrity within the financial system. Consumers need to know they can trust the firms they buy from and are protected if something goes wrong. This gives consumers the confidence to exercise choice and switch product providers, which in turn provides strong incentives for firms to treat consumers properly and strive to win custom on the basis of service, quality, price and innovation. See how we promote competition.