New consumer protection code on the way

A new unified consumer protection code is to be introduced next year by the Financial Regulator, it emerged today.

A new unified consumer protection code is to be introduced next year by the Financial Regulator, it emerged today.

The code will set out the rules firms must comply with to ensure consumers have the same level of protection regardless of the type of company they deal with.

The Financial Regulator’s 2006 Strategic Plan also outlined plans for a new consumer website and an information initiative on maturing Special Savings Incentive Accounts (SSIAs).

A new Fitness and Probity framework will also be introduced to ensure there are common requirements for managers and directors in positions of power in financial institutions.

Chief Executive, Liam O’Reilly, said the strategy, which sets out the Financial Regulator’s key new plans for the coming year, was developed with the input of consumer and industry panels.

“Over the last three years we have made substantial progress in the areas of consumer information and protection and in developing a more effective supervisory regime for the industry,” he said.

“The job of having an appropriate regulatory system is one that needs to be continuously refined and developed so that it meets the needs of all of our stakeholders – consumers, industry and the public generally.”

Mr O’Reilly said the final annual update of the original three-year plan for the Financial Regulator would ensure its success was built upon.

“During 2006, we will work with the consultative consumer and industry panels to examine our strategic direction to date to identify what work will need to be done in the years ahead,” he said.

“We remain committed to embedding the Government’s Better Regulation principles and will introduce Regulatory Impact Analyses as we develop our public consultation process.”

The key tasks to be undertaken by the Financial Regulator in 2006 also include:

:: New regulatory capital requirements for banks and asset management companies will be set out and a supervisory regime for re-insurance companies will be introduced in line with new EU Directives.

:: Preparation for changes to the regulation of securities and funds under the Markets in Financial Instruments, Transparency and UCITS III Directives.

:: Extension of the web based credit union reporting system for off-site analysis and risk assessment to all credit unions.

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