Brussels, 8 April 2019 – In its blueprint published today, the public interest NGO Finance Watch suggests key priorities for the next European Commission to ensure inclusive, safe and sustainable financial services for consumers.
A well-functioning market for retail financial services is important for both the economy and citizens of the EU. However, despite genuine efforts, the current European Institutions have not managed to adopt measures to tackle the root causes of the problems consumers are facing: artificial complexity, unfair commercial practices, exclusion of vulnerable groups from using basic services as well as a lack of social corporate responsibility and of the involvement of public authorities.
As the European Commission prepares its key priorities for the next mandate, Finance Watch reminds policymakers of the importance of guaranteed access to a minimum basket of financial products, of establishing clear rules for simple and sustainable financial products and of making a comprehensive analysis at European level of the whole retail financial services market regarding its size, the nature of institutions, their business models, distribution channels and remuneration.
Olivier Jérusalmy, Senior Research and Advocacy Officer at Finance Watch, said:
“Consumer confidence in financial services providers continues to be low, and mis-selling scandals continue to occur with a worrying frequency. Given the important role that retail financial services play in the average citizen’s life, consumers need to be well protected and not exploited in this key market.
In view of society’s increasing dependence on financial services, financial inclusion is an important part of social inclusion. Being financially excluded or over-indebted has an important impact on society as a whole, because of the link with the risk of poverty and with inequality in the ability to get back into employment, to be in good health and therefore to lead a dignified life.”
For further information or interview requests, please contact:
Charlotte Geiger, Senior Communications Officer at Finance Watch, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 0032/(0)474331031.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The yearly Consumer Scoreboard published by the European Commission attests to the lack of consumer confidence throughout the European Union, regardless of the financial service involved.
In March 2016, BEUC, Finance Watch and Better Finance wrote an Open Letter to the Commission to present an ambitious Retail Financial Services Action Plan. In March 2017 the European Commission published its “Consumer Financial Services Action Plan: Better Products, More Choice”.
Finance Watch has commented on the following legislative proposals linked to the Action Plan:
- Finance Watch consultation response on the REFIT review of the EU Directive on motor insurance (October 2017)
- Finance Watch recommendations for a Pan-European Personal Pension Product (April 2018)
- Finance Watch Policy brief on Remittances (March 2018)
- Finance Watch Briefing note on the FinTech Action Plan (July 2018)
Watch the video with Olivier Jérusalmy “Five priorities to improve our daily financial services”