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What’s the “Consumer Consultative Panel” doing these days?

Short answer – not a whole lot.

During the course of the meltdown in the Irish banking system last year and the revelations regarding the actions (or inactions) of the Financial Regulator, the supposed consumer representatives within the “system” went AWOL.

And now again in 2009, according to this page of meeting minutes, this panel has not met since July of this year.

So, with massive structural changes (supposedly) being undertaken in how our financial regulatory regime will operate in order to better monitor our financial system, not to mention the huge implications of the adoption of NAMA, the Consumer Consultative Panel at the Financial Regulators has again gone missing – their names are here.

In case you’re not familiar with what this consumer panel are responsible for, here are some details from their own section of the Financial Regulator website:

The functions of the Consumer Panel…. and may be summarised as follows:

  • 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
  • to comment on the Financial Regulator’s draft estimate of income and expenditure and consult with the Minister for Finance before he approves the draft estimate of income and expenditure
  • providing the Financial Regulator with suggestions for initiatives that, in the Panel’s opinion, the Financial Regulator should take with respect to the performance of its functions and responsibilities.

The industry equivalent, the Industry Consultative Panel, has been even more remiss – they haven’t met since June 2009 according to these meeting minutes.

So, with all the supposed changes that are going to be incorporated into the financial regulatory system in order to make sure that the events of recent years do not happen again, it looks like this is all being done without any input from either the consumer, nor even the market participants (through the official channels anyway).

I did contact the people concerned via their website, but as you’d expect, they haven’t bothered to answer.

Update: December 21st, 2009 – I take it all back – I see that the website has been updated since this post was originally published. There are now meeting minutes from September, October and November 2009. You can see what they were actually doing in those meetings here.

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