FIN-USE, an expert panel set up by the European Commission in April 2004 to give opinions on financial services from a ‘user’ perspective (see SMN34), has delivered its first opinion on the four expert group reports produced in May 2004 (see page 13) which assess the state of financial integration in the EU.
In its opinion, which reflects the consensus view of the group members and not necessarily that of the Commission, FIN-USE sets out its views on the reports and makes ten principal recommendations.
The Commission will take these into account, along with the results of the recent public consultation on the stocktaking reports, in the process of completing the implementation of the FSAP and in determining future financial services policy.
The FIN-USE opinion takes issue, in so far as consumer interests are concerned, with some of the conclusions of the four stocktaking reports. The opinion examines each report in detail and lists ten key recommendations as a general response.
In particular those recommendations advocate more effective involvement and representation of the user perspective at all levels of policy making, and view consumer confidence as a pre-condition for a successful integrated market in retail financial services.
The report also says that users need more independent advice and transparency about any ties which intermediaries such as financial services advisers and insurance brokers have with providers. FIN-USE is sceptical about the use of self regulation at EU level.
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Further information at: http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/giovannini/clearing_settlement_en.htm
The full FIN-USE Report entitled ‘Financial Services, Consumers and Small Businesses - a user perspective on the reports on Banking Asset Management, Securities and Insurance of the Post FSAP Stocktaking Groups’ can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/finservices-retail/finuse_en.htm