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, pensions and investments, virtually every adult in the UK is a consumer of financial services. One of our objectives is to ensure an appropriate degree of protection for all these consumers. 

We work to protect consumers in various ways. We set rules and standards for financial firms, to make sure they: 

  • treat their customers fairly
  • deliver appropriate products and services
  • put customer protection above their own profits or income

We monitor which firms and individuals can enter the financial markets, making sure they meet our standards before we authorise them.

Firms must continue to meet these standards after we’ve authorised them, and we supervise how they work to make sure they do. If we find that firms aren’t following our rules, we act. This may mean imposing fines, stopping them from trading or securing compensation for consumers. 

We want to make sure that consumers receive the information they need in the right way, so they can make the best decisions for themselves.

Understanding risks

We protect people by helping them understand some of the most common risks they might come across when using financial services. 

We publish warnings about firms who are doing business without our authorisation and we encourage consumers to report scams, potential harm or bad conduct to us.

Our ScamSmart campaign targets people most at risk of investment fraud and pension scams. It provides tools to help investors actively check investments they've been offered unexpectedly. Our InvestSmart campaign warns newer investors about the risks they’re not always aware of when investing online. 

We work with a network of consumer organisations to raise awareness of our campaigns and what we do, and these organisations help inform our approach to regulation.

Healthy competition

Our work to protect consumers also helps support healthy competition and integrity in the financial system. 

People need to know if they can trust the firms they buy from and whether they are protected if something goes wrong. This gives them the confidence to make choices and switch product providers. 

This then means that firms have strong incentives to treat consumers fairly and win their business based on service, quality, price and innovation. 

Find out more about how we promote competition.

Page updates

07/10/2021: Information changed General updates and InvestSmart campaign