Both the FSA and the financial services industry should take more responsibility for the way consumers are treated if they wish to see see confidence return, says the Financial Services Consumer Panel.
The Consumer Panel says that although consumers will be expected to take on more responibility for their own financial decisions in the future, neither the industry or the regulator have done enough to ease that process.
Chairman Ann Foster attacks the industry for still not providing enough simple information to consumers, which would enable them to compare products and services, demand quality, and resist pressurised selling and misleading advertising.
Foster adds the Panel is "disappointed" the FSA has decided to postpone some initiatives, such as its 'Key Facts' requirements, which could have improved information for consumers.
The FSCP also slams the regulator for allowing the term 'independent' to mean different things when it comes to investment and insurance selling.
Instead, the Panel suggests the regulator take a number of steps over the next year, including offering all consumers help with their financial planning, in order to rebuild consumer confidence in financial services,
"It has got to be in the interests of the financial services industry to improve the current level of consumer confidence, so that more people are able to consider their needs and buy the right products for them," Foster says.
"But the industry must play its part in helping consumers. At the moment the industry is too product driven, rather than consumer led."
"The FSA must come down hard on the industry when it tries to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers," she adds.IFAonline
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