Protecting consumers

Find out how we protect consumers from harm caused by bad conduct in financial services.

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 main objectives is to use our powers over firms and markets to protect these consumers.

To do this, we set rules and standards for financial firms to make sure they: 

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 that are doing business without our authorisation, and we encourage consumers to report scams, potential harm or bad conduct to us.

Our ScamSmart campaign targets individuals who are most at risk of investment fraud and pension scams. It provides tools to help investors check investments they've been offered unexpectedly. Our InvestSmart campaign also warns newer investors about the risks of investing online. 

We want to help consumers protect themselves, so we work with a network of consumer organisations to raise awareness of our work. These organisations also 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. 

When competition works well, consumers are empowered as well as informed. Firms compete to win their business based on service, quality, price and innovation. 

Page updates

19/07/2022: Editorial amendment Minor editorial updates and 'Read next' added.
07/10/2021: Information changed General updates and InvestSmart campaign