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EU consumer group calls for more advice rules

EU consumer group calls for more advice rules

The European Commission’s financial services consumer panel has called for continent-wide regulation of advice.

The Financial Services User Group, which advises the commission on legislation which affects consumers, said making financial decisions has “never been so complicated”.

It has published a number of recommendations to address these issues, including a comprehensive approach to the concept of financial advice in European legislation.

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Meanwhile it proposed there should also be Europe-wide regulations for the terms “financial advice” and “financial adviser” and that commission should be banned across the continent.

In its paper, the FSUG stated distribution and sales of retail financial services are characterized by "a high level of mis-selling practices and scams, which explains the low level of consumer trust in the financial services providers and their intermediaries”.

It added changing professional lifestyles are making new demands on financial services.

“Multiple professional changes during a lifetime, less and less linear careers and possible periods of unemployment affect the level and regularity of incomes and future pensions.

“Most retirement pension schemes, originally designed for people who had a linear career and few employers, are proving outmoded today.

“More and more decisions have to be taken by individual consumers in many areas where default products previously existed or services were provided by a single monopoly provider.

“In the financial area, products have become more numerous and increasingly complex over the years, but also often unsuitable to meet most of consumers’ needs."

The FSUG also called for wider access to financial guidance services for people who cannot afford financial advice.

It said that in France, people have access to a health check-up every five years and said a similar service should be available in financial guidance.

This, it said, could be funded through a levy on the financial services industry.