Last week I signed up to the Which? Watchdog not Lapdog campaign. The campaign is about creating a financial regulator that looks out for us, the consumers, rather than the interests of banks.
The job of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is expected to be established by the end of 2012, will be:
- To stand up to banks and promote competition to give us the best deal.
- Be open with us about what it is doing.
- Unearth potential problems with financial products and act on them before they can become an issue.
Britain is the world’s financial capital, it is our largest industry and at its best is a powerful engine of growth in the economy. However, the conduct of the Britain’s financial services since the 1990’s has at times been appalling, with widespread miss-selling of financial products including; PPI, Mortgage Endowment Policies, and personal pensions. This needs to change.
Whether we like it or not, banks are a vital part of any economy. But the past conduct allowed by previous Governments is grossly unacceptable. If Britain is to prosper in the future it not only needs the biggest banks in the world, it needs the best banks in the world. That is why I am supporting the Which? Campaign. The FCA aims to secure strong protection for consumers to prevent the miss selling listed above from happening again. It aims to promote efficiency and choice, so that the products we are offered are varied and we have the best chance to choose the products that are right for us, and In doing these things, I hope that it can enhance the integrity of our financial system, so that Britain’s financial services are known not just for their size and strength, but their quality and contribution as well.