Financial consumer crusaders announced
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Which?, the Consumer Council Northern Ireland and the Federation of Small Businesses, if approved, will be given the power to present complaints to the regulator if they believe the interests of consumers and businesses are being damaged.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Greg Clark said: “We are building a stronger and safer financial services sector, a vital part of which is ensuring that consumers and small and medium-sized businesses have a stronger voice to raise issues when they feel specific markets are not working as they should.
“By giving certain consumer and business groups the ability to make super-complaints to the new regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, we can all help to tackle bad practice more rapidly and robustly than before.”
Once a designated body has brought a super-complaint to the FCA the regulator will have a duty to respond within 90 days.
In the past super-complaints about financial services could only be made to the Office of Fair Trading which doesn’t have the same powers as the FCA in relation to financial issues.
In future the FCA could receive a super-complaint and, if appropriate, use its own powers to tackle the issue.
Clark said: “The FCA has been given the ability to accept super-complaints in order to strengthen the voice of consumers of financial services as they are unlikely to have access individually to the kind of information necessary to judge whether markets are failing for them.
“Consumer groups can access individuals’ complaints to form a judgment on whether there is a problem and then take the necessary action.”
The next stage of the process is to publish all applicants on the Treasury website for a period of 12 weeks as stated in the application guidance giving stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the applicants.
The final decision as to which bodies gain super-complainant status will be taken after the 12 weeks have elapsed.