Policy & Research

Financial services

We are no longer working on this topic due to changes in our funding and remit. See our About us page for more information. The information below reflects our work up to the end of 2012.

Financial services are under the spotlight like never before. However, the interests of ordinary consumers can be swamped by the big ‘financial crisis’ issues. Our role is to make sure that the interests of consumers, especially those on low income, or at a disadvantage in the financial services market are understood and placed at the heart of decision making by industry and regulators.

What Consumer Focus is doing

The oversight of financial service markets is undergoing a comprehensive overhaul, we are working to make sure the interests of consumers are not lost in the process. From our Focus on Finance project to our engagement with the new regulatory bodies we are making sure the new regulation has the interests of consumers as its key objective.

It is not only the system of regulation that needs improving. Competition in areas such as current accounts is at a low and consumers have neither the impetus nor the information to enable them to switch supplier effectively. The amount and quality of information on charges, and contract terms as well as on customer service and complaints is poor and we take a hard look at how good the products and service standards really are.

There are millions of people at the margins of the mainstream financial markets who cannot take advantage of online and Direct Debit discounts, savings products and who have to rely on high cost credit. Consumer Focus stands up for those who have the least amount of power in these markets.

We produced a media briefing (PDF 168KB) on the key issues ahead of the Independent Commission on Banking’s report on banking sector reforms.

In February 2012, Consumer Focus joined forces with Age UK, Citizens Advice and Financial Services Consumer Panel to write to Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban MP (PDF 212KB), welcoming the Financial Services Bill. The letter also outlines some additional measures we would like to be included in the Bill to further improve financial regulation for consumers.

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