Consumer Panel calls for a clear vision on consumer protection

02 March 2011

Speaking at the British Bankers Association (BBA) conference on the proposed Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Mr Phillips set out five tests for a successful regulator. These include giving adequate weight to consumer protection; earlier and stronger action and greater transparency; use of effective competition to deliver good consumer outcomes; an assertive FCA capable of challenging the Bank of England; and effective consumer representation across the new regulatory structure.

Adam Phillips, Chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel said:

The new regulator must have a clearer vision of its role in providing consumer protection. It needs to be more strategic in its approach and to use effective competition as a tool to encourage good behaviour rather than relying on general principles and the threat of sanctions after problems emerge.

The FCA should not simply be the FSA in new clothes but must learn the lessons of the last decade and act far more assertively in favour of consumers. We look forward to seeing greater transparency, straightforward products, temporary product bans and the publication of enforcement action taken against misbehaving firms so that consumers can make appropriate choices.

There has been a heated debate about whether the FCA should be a "consumer champion". What is clear is that the FCA must do a better job than the FSA in ensuring consumers are both adequately protected and informed so that they can be more confident they will get a fair deal in accessing financial services. Only with a more effective regulator will consumers begin to trust financial services providers again.

Notes to editors

  1. The text of Adam Phillip's speech is available on request after 15.30 on Wednesday 2nd March 2011 and on our website.
  3. The Consumer Panel submission to the HM Treasury Consultation on Future Regulation is available.
  4. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FSA Board on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA’s performance in meeting its objectives.

  5. The emphasis of the Panel’s work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA’s remit.

  6. There are currently fourteen members of the Panel as listed below. Panel members are appointed for a three year term which can be renewed once (For further information on individual members, see Who is on the panel)