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IFSRA Consumer Panel – we don’t have one at the moment!

Not sure how much of a big deal this is given my low regard for the Financial Regulator, but did you know that the Financial Regulator Consumer Panel hasn’t sat since the end of September?

So throughout the Irish and global financial crisis that we’re experiencing at the moment, and the massive decision being taken by the government in the form of the bank bailout, it appears that the Financial Regulator isn’t consulting with consumers at all – ignoring them in effect.

According to the IFSRA website, this is what the Consumer Panel is for, and what it’s not doing at the moment:

  • monitoring the performance by the Financial Regulator of its functions and responsibilities under this Act
  • providing the Financial Regulator with comments with respect to the performance of its functions and responsibilities
  • providing the Financial Regulator with comments and suggestions with respect to the performance of the financial services industry
  • when requested to comment on policy and regulatory documents issued, or to be issued, by the Financial Regulator

As it happens, we didn’t have a Financial Services Ombudsman Council sitting for a period during that time as well – from the middle to the end of October.

As of today, we still don’t have a Financial Regulator Consumer Panel in place yet, so consumers can still go whistle as far as at least one of our Regulators is concerned.

5 comments On IFSRA Consumer Panel – we don’t have one at the moment!

  • You’d think that the people on the panel would have called for an emergency meeting given what was/is going on in banking. Surely any committee has rules whereby you can call for an unscheduled meeting when circumstances warrant it.

    Perhaps we should get rid of all those on the current panel and put in some real activists?

  • Can the public attend the consumer Panel or any of these bodies supposed to be looking after us citizens. For example you can attend local area meetings of Dublin City Council (you ask a councillor for a pass). We need to regulate the regulators! if they don’t do their job close them down and save the money. Presumably our ‘representatives’ get big fees and expenses?

  • Thanks for your comments!

    @Conor – I’ve met a couple of people who were on the most recent Consumer Panel. Some you’d like to see representing consumers, others you wouldn’t want to be responsible for watering your plants. I suppose no grouping of people can be perfect.

    @Barry – I believe that the members of the Consumer Panel get €150 per meeting. This, I’m told, is a relatively new payment for this particular group.
    From any information that I can find, the meetings of this consumer panel and similar bodies are not open to the public.
    The people on the panel are OUR representative – my problem is that they rarely report back to us consumers what actually goes on there.

  • Just recently stumbled on this ‘blog’site and amazed that there are not many more posts. Can anyone tell us who is the Chairman of the ‘Consumer Panel’ and who are the ? elected or ? appointed members. The IFSRA apears to be rudderless and not responsive – or takes an age torespond to a query !

  • @William – The members of the panel, finally appointed by the Minister for Finance is available on this page on the Financial Regulators website. The Chairman is Raymond O’Rourke who is reported as being a "food and consumer lawyer". Interesting,
    along with James Doorley he’s also a member of the executive of the Consumers Association of Ireland. Almost 1/5th of that panel taken up by the CAI.

    Just a note to follow up on my post above, given the turmoil in the financial markets at the moment, it’s now pushing a year since there’s been a meeting of this Consumer Panel – at least in meeting minutes reported on the website.

    Additionally, they haven’t published their report on the performance of the Financial Regulator for 2008 yet either. That’d make interesting reading whenever we get it – you can find it here whenever it’s published.

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