The FSA has been urged to go after the main culprits of the financial turmoil, such as the banks, and not lay the burden on consumers.
However, the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP) has slammed the FSA for focusing on consumer responsibility at a time when large sections of the industry are not giving consumers a fair deal.
Adam Phillips, the FSCP's acting chairman, says: "Clearly, the industry has been putting pressure on the FSA to increase consumer obligations. While we are not arguing with the need for consumers to answer questions honestly and read key information, the FSA document provides an opportunity for the industry to attack consumers' rights, when it is the industry itself which needs to get its house in order and take responsibility for its actions.
"Over the past few months we've seen consumer confidence fall to unprecedented low levels. It's also a time when many firms have been exposed as not giving consumers a fair deal, from the selling of Personal Protection Insurance (PPI), to pension transfer advice and dealing with mortgage arrears.
"We have told the FSA that this is not the time to be discussing consumer responsibility, and we will continue to pursue this line vigorously with the FSA over the coming months."
Chris Geeson, MD at Geeson Financial Services, also criticised the FSA's focus on consumers when he believes their attentions should be targeted at providers.
"The FSA is going after the mice with advisers and now consumers. They are going where they think they can get away with it. The FSA has the problem of knowing the enormity of where the problems are but they are not going after the banks. Is it reasonable for us to be pilloried when we only get 4% of the total customer complaints? We know we are not the cause as it is the banks' fault."
One part of the paper which could also prove contentious for advisers is a suggested list of 'Sensible Actions' consumers may take to protect their own best interests.
These feature a post-sale checklist which includes; reviewing financial need and circumstances on a regular basis, monitoring performance and reading periodic statements and even considering altering the asset mix in a product.
Advisers would argue these should be tasks entrusted to them by consumers who have sought advice and say the line of responsibility may become blurred.
Keith Churchouse. director at Churchouse Financial Planning, says: "For those who need it the most any educative process is well worth while. However, for consumers using advisers, they pay us fees and we should take full responsibility."
Geeson adds: "As well as the argument about understanding the awareness of the product we are asking them to become a watcher of markets. What are you paying your adviser for?"
However, the advisers welcome any improvements in the level of consumer education with Churchouse adding helping clients to to go into the process with their eyes open could reduce complaints in the future.
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