This story went up on the RTE website yesterday evening – Commission to replace Financial Regulator. The main point of the article is the planned realignment of the industry regulating responsibilities of the Financial Regulator back into the Central Bank (where it resided originally anyway).
However, of more interest to consumers will be the following statement:
The role of informing consumers, currently carried out by the Financial Regulator’s consumer director, will be transferred to the National Consumer Agency, which is being merged with the Competition Authority.
To a certain extent, I think that the principle of this move is to be welcomed. That is, that advice for consumers comes from a centralised organisation – rather than disparate organisations giving frequently overlapping advice to consumers which only serves to further confuse rather than clarify and inform.
But why not go further?
The National Consumer Agency doesn’t always prosecute when it comes to breaches of consumer legislation, but when it does, it names and shames.
The Financial Services Ombudsman does follow up and make judgements in favour of consumers, but they don’t release names of the offending businesses.
Why now, as well as amalgamating the information provision services, bring the consumer protection legislation enforcement responsibilities together into one place as well?
Throw the Financial Services Ombudsman into the mix proposed above, and provide one less place for consumers to have to worry about when it comes to knowing where to go to make their complaints.
That in itself would reduce much of the potential consumer confusion when it comes to who is actually supposed to look after their interests.