FIN-USE experts have been selected by the Commission on the strength of their user background. FIN-USE members include consumer protection and small business experts, academic researchers and staff from major consumer and small business organisations.
The FIN-USE mandate is to strengthen the role of consumers and small businesses in the on-going evolution of the EU financial services sector. Historically, the national regulation of these matters has often involved ministries of justice, of consumer protection, of economics and of enterprise. FIN-USE begins with a similarly broad view of the range of societal interests that are affected by the financial services sector. In its perspective, financial services are not only a tool to increase income and wealth but also a means by which adequate consumption and employment can be achieved.
The Forum will deal with all financial services as defined in the Distance Marketing Directive, i.e. any service of a banking, credit, insurance, personal pension, investment or payment nature.
FIN-USE will monitor and comment on all measures affecting the relationship between consumers and small businesses, on the one hand, and banks, insurance companies and other financial services provider on the other.
The FIN-USE experts' understanding of the financial integration process thus far leads them to set out two more specific goals. First, they want to bring a more nuanced and more pragmatic vision of how consumers and small businesses will respond to the new reality of an expanded market for financial services. For example, the diversity of users suggests that what might be beneficial for the average user could be detrimental for users who have limited access to information. Second, they would wish to comment on the process by which change is being managed by the Commission. For example, they believe that it matters a great deal whether the Commission adopts a policy of minimum or maximum harmonisation, of mutual recognition or respect for the national culture.
In the end, however, they share an underlying goal with the Commission and with the suppliers of financial services. They all desire a well-functioning pan-European market that provides valuable services to consumers, that allows suppliers to function efficiently and profitably and that protects consumers against the threats that often accompany commercial relations.