The current crisis in the financial market has highlighted the need to ensure greater transparency in the market as well as greater protection (equally across Europe) and involvement of consumers, who are usually the end users, especially since consumer expenditure generates a significant part of the EU’s wealth.

Due to the sophisticated and complex nature of many financial products, consumer engagement has invariably been limited and consumers have been left significantly under-represented and sidelined. The subject is very relevant today as we see a reconstruction of European financial services policy and regulation. As Commissioner-designate for Internal market and Services Michel Barnier repeatedly stressed in his hearing at the European Parliament, “it is vital to put back consumers and the human dimension at the heart of financial services”.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has therefore recently organised a roundtable entitled “how to reconcile financial products and consumer’s protection in the aftermath of the financial crisis”? in order to find more innovative ways to ensure that information about financial products is provided in a simple, inclusive and consumer friendly manner.

The debate highlighted a combination of activities that could contribute to ensure and promote fair and well governed banking system, including namely appropriate regulation, better corporate governance, corporate behaviour and simplification of the financial products.

Reconciling financial products and consumer’s protection in the aftermath of the financial crisis is a challenge, which involves restoring morality and integrity of the financial system, changing the way of policies’ implementation by involving more consumers, and linking financial services and sustainable development.

According to Professor Robin Jarvis Head of Small Businesses at ACCA “if the purpose of companies is to maximise shareholders return, there are few chances to change corporate behaviour, but this is a challenge that has to be tackled”.

Author :