We’ve invited Martin Wheatley, the CEO designate of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), to share his insight on the soon to be financial watchdog. He’s asked for the FCA to be judged on its results.
We are in the process of finding out from you exactly how things can be improved with the new financial regulator.
At its recent consumer debate, Which? invited me to hear about the types of concerns people have – whether it is with their bank account, or when they are trying to get a mortgage or sort our an isa.
A couple of key themes kept coming up: you want a system that ensures banks, insurers and advisers work in your best interests and that the products you buy are right for your particular needs.
It is something we are very conscious of, and at the centre of all of this change is delivering a fair deal for you, the customer. For me this means three things.
Changing how banks treat you
Whilst a good number of companies put their customers at the heart of what they do, we need to get more firms putting you first. That means more banks, more advisers, more mortgage lenders realising that dealing well with customers and delivering a good service is ultimately good for business. This also involves being clear and fair with you.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out, via a straw poll at the Which? debate, that about half of the audience said they did indeed read all the information they received on a financial purchase – opening a new account or buying an insurance policy, for example.
I suspect this may not be the case for everyone and I am keen to improve the way products are designed, sold and explained to you.
Changing how we work
The FCA is being set up with new powers to protect your finances. We will be tougher and more willing to act when we think you may not be being treated fairly.
The FCA will be focused on what your experiences are when opening a bank account, taking out a mortgage or making a complaint.
We will be out testing what’s happening on the ground, both at the point at which you deal with your bank or building society but also when products are being designed. Going forward, if problems arise we want to stop them before they harm you.
FCA turns over new listening leaf
I will ensure this change, and events like this are an example of what we want to be doing more of in the future.
I came away from the event in no uncertain terms that issues such as bank charges, improved trust in the companies you use and too much small print on the contracts you sign should be high on the FCA’s list of priorities.
If you could put me in your shoes for the day what would you want me to take on board? We want to continue hearing your views.
The FCA wants to act sooner to fix problems and aims to ensure you get a fairer deal. But as I said, you will be the judge of that.
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This is from Martin Wheatley, the head of the new Financial Conduct Authority – all opinions expressed here are their own, and not that of Which?
Do you read the T&Cs that come with a financial purchase?
I scan read and hope for the best (56%, 91 Votes)
No, never, they’re too complicated (17%, 27 Votes)
I expect my bank to highlight any crucial bits (14%, 22 Votes)
Yes, I love a good read (14%, 22 Votes)
Total Voters: 163