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Campaigners urge MPs to reform FCA 

Members of the Transparency Taskforce campaign group met online with MPs and Lords yesterday to push for the new Financial Services and Markets Bill, currently going through Parliament, to be amended to reform the FCA to improve consumer protection.

The meeting followed the recent BBC Panorama programme – The Billing Pound Savings Scandal – which questioned the FCA’s ability to protect consumers from scams and poor or toxic investments.

The Taskforce, which campaigns for reform of the financial sector, wants the bill to be used to introduce a number of reforms including:

  • Removing the FCA’s exemption from civil liability, widening the Complaints Scheme to impose redress for regulatory failure and backdating both to deal with historic claims
  • Introducing a “genuine, straightforward statutory duty of care” in place of “the complex and ineffective” new Consumer Duty
  • Creating a consumer oversight body to hold the FCA to account and make key appointments, to ensure independence from the FCA and Treasury

The Taskforce said in a statement: “The Financial Services and Markets Bill reshores oversight of UK financial regulation from Brussels. It’s crucial we use this opportunity to empower consumers to influence how that power is used, and not simply hand it to the City and its proxies, the FCA and the Treasury. 

“After last month’s damning edition of Panorama, The Billion Pound Savings Scandal and this week’s news that the FCA is requiring Link Group to ring-fence proceeds from its sale sufficient to compensate only a tenth of Woodford investors’ losses, it’s crucial that (new) mechanisms are introduced.”

The Taskforce plans to work with specialist lawyers and supportive Parliamentarians to draft amendments to the Bill and discuss tactics and timing for proposing them. 

The campaign group said its aim was not to create additional regulatory burdens or costs for the industry but to end the “unjust situation” in which the honest majority are judged by consumers by the standards of the bad apples, and “even forced through the FSCS levy to pay for the latter’s misdeeds.”

Andy Agathangelou, founder of the Transparency Task Force, said: “In my opinion, the recent BBC Panorama programme shows that the Financial Conduct Authority fails to act swiftly or effectively when financial advisers or other right-minded stakeholders tell it about suspected scams. 

“Since the documentary was broadcast, hundreds of letters have been sent to MPs by scam victims who are keen that the Financial Services & Markets Bill that is working its way through Parliament now, be used to introduce reforms that will make the FCA do a better job of protecting consumers. The meeting with Parliamentarians and other interested stakeholders was about exploring important reform ideas, to see how they could be turned into amendments for the Bill.”



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