Panel calls for publication of 'confidential' data by financial regulators to inform the public

11 May 2012

The Financial Services Consumer Panel has today issued a call for the Government to ensure the new financial regulators are more open and transparent. The Panel has published a position paper which argues that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) should be empowered to publish information that allows consumers to make more informed choices.

Presently, the Financial Services and Markets Act1 restricts the publication of information received by the FSA from firms and individuals. The Panel would like to see information about the performance and behaviour of firms made available to consumers. This includes the results of mystery shopping where poor performing firms should be ‘named and shamed’.

The Panel believes that greater transparency through the availability of better information would serve as an important catalyst in driving improved firm behaviour. This open and honest approach would also help rebuild consumer trust in the financial services industry.

Kay Blair, Consumer Panel Vice Chair commented:

“The new Financial Services Bill presents the Government with a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a new generation of informed consumers through greater regulatory transparency. This would help shift the balance of power much more in favour of consumers.

The Panel has argued for some years that consumers have a right to know about poor firm performance, such as the nature of complaints and a firm’s record in handling complaints. It is high time that the outdated legal restrictions on publishing information collected during the regulators’ work are reformed.”

 

Notes to editors

  1. Currently sections 348 and 349 of Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 restrict the disclosure of information received by the FSA during the discharge of its regulatory functions.
  2. The Consumer Panel position paper
  3. The Panel has previously published research on how transparency can be used as a regulatory tool
  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 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. More information about the Panel's work.
  6. Photographs and biographical details for Kay Blair are available
  7. Panel members are appointed to serve a maximum of two terms of three years.
Friday, 11 May 2012