UK FSA concerned over product selection

UK regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has claimed one of the major risks to consumers over the next 18 months is that of being mis-sold unsuitable financial products.

In its latest Retail Conduct Risk Outlook, the FSA said consumers are struggling to cope with low interest rates and poor investment returns.

As a result consumers are shopping around for products and so face the risk of “being sold unsuitable products; from products that are too risky for them to products they do not understand or that do not meet their individual circumstances”, the FSA said.

Martin Wheatley (pictured), FSA managing director, said: “Consumers rely on financial firms and their products to provide them with vital services; literally the means to run their lives.

“They need to be able to trust that the products they buy work for them and that they are getting a fair deal, but our report today shows that consumers worry they are not being sold the right products or products they do not need.

“Our analysis means we can focus our work on the most significant risks facing consumers. It also helps firms understand how to avoid the bear traps of designing products for maximum profit but little benefit to customers.”

The outlook is designed to look at the wider external factors in the economy, the pressures on firms and how this may affect consumers.

It is meant to ensure firms avoid behaviour that may have a detrimental impact on consumers.

This year the FSA’s said its main objective is to intervene early to prevent issues escalating into mass consumer detriment, such as with the payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling scandal last year.

 

This article was first published on Investment Week

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