Call for regulator to increase transparency

The Financial Services Consumer Panel has called 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.

Currently, the Financial Services and Markets Act 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.

Kay Blair, Consumer Panel vice chair, said: “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 It is high time that the outdated legal restrictions on publishing information collected during the regulators’ work are reformed.”