Consumer protection: Key principles  

The primary impetus for the international development of a new emphasis on consumer protection was the initiative taken by the G20 in February 2011. This called for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Financial Stability Board and other organizations to “develop common principles on consumer protection in the field of financial services”. The High-Level Principles were endorsed by the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in October 2011.

Key principles

While the consumer protection agenda is perhaps more advanced in the UK, Europe and the US than elsewhere, the rest of the world is catching up quickly. The G20 are keen to create an international body to oversee the development of consumer protection regulation, and have called for the formalization of the International Financial Consumer Protection Network (FinCoNet) as a global institution for financial consumer protection, with a similar model and structure to other international organizations.

See PDF download on the right to view a map which summarizes the latest regulations.

The G20 Principles: summary

  • Financial consumer protection should be an integral part of the legal, regulatory and supervisory framework.
  • There should be oversight bodies explicitly responsible for financial consumer protection, with the necessary authority to fulfil their mandates.
  • All financial consumers should be treated equitably, honestly and fairly at all stages of their relationship with financial service providers.
  • Financial services providers and authorized agents should provide consumers with key information that informs the consumer of the fundamental benefits, risks and terms of the product.
  • Financial education and awareness should be promoted by all relevant stakeholders and clear information on consumer protection, rights and responsibilities should be easily accessible by consumers.
  • Financial services providers and authorized agents should work in the best interest of their customers and be responsible for upholding financial consumer protection.
  • Relevant mechanisms should protect consumers’ deposits, savings, and other similar financial assets, including against fraud, misappropriation or other misuses.
  • Consumers’ financial and personal information should be protected.
  • Consumers should have access to adequate complaints handling and redress mechanisms.
  • Nationally and internationally competitive markets should be promoted in order to provide consumers with greater choice among financial services and create competitive pressure on providers to offer competitive products, enhance innovation and maintain high service quality.

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