Firms will continue to accept the bulk of responsibility for the sale of financial products, the FSA says today, after failing to reach a consensus on whether to force consumers to accept more liability.
The FSA asked for feedback on the issue but says "in the absence of wider agreement" it has decided to stick with its original guidelines.
As outlined in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the FSA is obliged to consider the role a consumer may have played in any questionable sale, but some felt responsibility was unbalanced against firms.
Last year, the FSA sought to gauge opinion from the industry and consumer bodies on whether it should establish what it called an "appropriate balance of responsibility" between consumers and firms in the sale of financial services products.
But it says a failure to reach a consensus view means responsibility remains almost entirely at the feet of firms.
Adam Phillips, chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, welcomes the move.
"The FSA's original idea that consumers should have regulatory responsibilities was at best naïve, and at worst irresponsible," he says.
"The Panel has always argued the concept of ‘consumer responsibility' is flawed. We are pleased the FSA has listened to our advice."
Among its suggestions for consumer responsibility, the FSA said customers should check the authorised status of firms, pay money on time, read suitability reports and make efforts to understand advertisements and other promotional materials.
When launching the consultation last year, the FSA said: "While we do not regulate consumers, we believe that we can work with firms, industry bodies and other stakeholders to encourage and enable consumers to consider their own interests more effectively in their decision making.
"We acknowledge that this is a debate that elicits strong feelings on both sides and we are keen to try to find common ground in order to contribute to better understanding and better outcomes for consumers in financial services markets."
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