/ Money

What do you want from our new financial watchdog?

Parliamentary procedure. Competitive financial services. The shipping forecast. Three very important things that are unlikely to get the pulse racing, but at least two are actually worth paying attention to.

I’m not talking about why you need to know the latest storm forecast for Viking.

You may have guessed by now, but I am, of course, talking about financial services, and more specifically the draft Financial Services Bill currently passing through the Houses of Parliament.

New financial regulators

The beginnings of new financial law may sound deadly boring, but when finalised, the Bill will take the current financial regulator, the Financial Services Authority, and replace it with two new bodies; the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The PRA will have responsibility for the stability of the big banks, insurers or large investment firms. In other words, it will keep an eye on the books of the big players.

Whereas, the FCA will specialise in protecting consumers and promoting confidence in everyday financial products and markets. This is the regulator that will be of most relevance to you and me, as it will be keep an eye on the products we use everyday like mortgages and credit cards.

A new financial consumer champion?

Still here? Hopefully you’ve made it through the past 199 words of technicalities and now want to find out why all this matters to you. The fact of the matter is that governing the financial industry is not a subject that arouses passion or vigour in most people. We can probably all agree that it is important but, even after the fallout of 2008, is regulation something we really think about until it all goes wrong? Probably not.

Luckily, the government wants the FCA to be more proactive, get better outcomes for consumers and even be known as a “consumer champion”. This would stand in stark contrast to the FSA who were often too slow to react to problems. Take the mass mis-selling of Payment Protection Insurance for instance.

We want a proper financial watchdog and want the changes to be about more than just a shiny new logo and swapping a ‘C’ for an ‘S’ above the door.

So I’m here to find out what you think. What do you want to see from the financial regulator? Do you think current financial laws works in your favour? What should a financial watchdog do more of and what should it do less of?

Changes to regulation like this don’t come along very often. Help us tell the regulator what you want. You may even want to listen to the shipping forecast afterwards.

Comments
Guest
Phil says:
2 November 2011

The financial world needs tougher regulation and tougher enforcement, the FSA have been useless which I suppose is why it’s being replaced. Companies and individuals caught breaking the rules also need to be handed out proper sentences. I’d also like to see an end to bonus culture and executives awarding themselves massive increases every year.

Profile photo of daver22
Guest

‘Balls’

Profile photo of dean
Guest

Any new “rules” or “procedures” in trying to curb banks is largely erroneous.

The Corporation of the City of London is in complete control of this and changes will only happen on their say so. Hedge fund investors made lots of money when the crisis started and we bemoaned the fact that directors were getting bonuses for their ineptitude, wrong!

Directors were given their bonuses because their companies were driven in the ground purposefully in order to make the top investors obscene amounts of money. They were towing the line of the City of London.

So for me, if you keep ignoring the elephant in the room, the undemocratic City of London, everything you do is pointless.

Profile photo of swynn
Guest

“So for me, if you keep ignoring the elephant in the room, the undemocratic City of London, everything you do is pointless.” I agree:

http://www.comparativetables.com/response.htm

I am hoping the publication of the RBS report will make a difference.

Profile photo of julieshrive
Guest

You can’t run Financial services & regulation with marketing tool of the call centre directed by biased accountants with no discretion . They maladministrate on corporate remits incapable of giving a fair hearing siding with people who fund them or the biggest bank account.While deregulated Government assumes this is howto be democratic . While cats away the mice will play….

Profile photo of swynn
Guest

The Consumers Association described the FSA as a “consumer champion” when it was set up:
http://www.fsa.gov.uk/Pages/Library/Communication/PR/2001/159.shtml

Profile photo of Chris McBride
Guest

Thanks everyone for your comments. In reply to Swynn I would say that we did welcome the FSA when it was established. As you can see from their press release they were launched with the intention “to identify areas of potential consumer detriment at an early stage and to home in where risks to consumers are greatest”.

The FSA themselves admit they could have done a better job in this area. This is why we welcome the new regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, and are engaging with the Government to make sure that consumers are at the heart of the new regulatory system.

If you think there are areas that the FSA should have done more now is the time to let us know so we can take those concerns to the Government.
Thanks
Chris

Profile photo of swynn
Guest

The FCA is not a “stark contrast” to the FSA. It is more of the same, and should not be welcomed.
History is repeating itself: “powerful new regulator”, “consumer champion”, “early stage intervention” etc.

Guest
Maureen says:
21 November 2011

I would like to see regulators clamping down on banks making it difficult and unnecessarily frustrating to change accounts when the terms and conditions of the account are changed and a new product with better terms is made available. A phone call to the branch and answering a few security questions should be all that is necessary to change the old account to the new one.

I also would like to question Bob Diamond and wonder why he thinks he deserves ‘compensation’ for the job he does. I think the term should be salary or remuneration. I also would like to see the end of the culture of outrageous bonuses rewarding those who have caused havoc in the global financial world and real distress to so many in the real economy.

Profile photo of roy81b
Guest

How about tackling ‘PROFITS’ from the beginning. i.e when manufacturers, retailers set them.
When I was growing-up and first started work comapnies and retailers set their profits by knowing what the cost of manufacturing and buying products would be and each adding 5-15% on for profit. Then along came Thatcher and her so called ‘free market’ economy, which was great for the already rich and the very greedy spiv types, not necessarily the same people. Prices were set to grab as much profit as possible (collaboration required between competing companies?), and forget the customer. Have greater ‘marketing-advertising’ ploys, inducements, using children as the pressure point, anything goes.

Guest
Paul Rouse says:
17 May 2012

These days I am ashamed to admit that I am a Freeman of the City of London. When Chancellor Gordon Brown promised the City that he would keep the Regulators at bay in return for tax generation, he unleashed the pent up greed of a whole new generation of UK Bankers, who looked at what was going on elsewhere in the World, and jumped on the bandwagon. I was writing to Mervin King two years before it all went wrong, pleading with him to do something about 120% mortgages and sub-prime ‘instruments’ that no one in the Banks realy understood, and which were driven by bonuses paid on future profits. It had to go wrong. To give him his due, and much as I dislike the Lib Dems, Vince Cable was saying the same thing at that time. When will everyone learn that something that looks like a dog and barks like a dog, is almost always a dog.
The way out of recession now is to somehow harness long term savings as a means of funding Government debt. Not only will this bring our debts ‘in house’, it will generate taxes and put money back into the economy. The reasons given by the BOE for not doing this, is that it would disadvantage the Banks at a time when they are rebuilding their Balance Sheets. Do we care?