The Consumers' Association has branded the Treasury's review of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 as “disappointing” and “a wasted opportunity”.
Mick McAteer, senior policy adviser at the CA, says: “What a wasted opportunity. The review is very disappointing, with absolutely no recognition of the collapse in consumer confidence and the need for regulation to protect consumers. It shows little understanding of the need to review the nature and purpose of the regulation to fit the needs of consumers in the 21st century.
“It has failed to recognise that the Financial Services and Markets Act needs to be reviewed to assess the impact on consumer confidence following Equitable Life.
“We are particularly concerned about the consultation over when the FSA should replace decisions in individual cases by the Ombudsman and over the possibility of appeals to the Ombudsman decisions which could effectively fetter the Ombudsman's independence and effectiveness.
“We welcome the commitment to look at cost-benefit analysis but there is no recognition of the need to reverse the way cost-benefit analysis is done so that the consumer is the focal point.
“We are also pleased to see that the review will be clarifying regulations for advice provided through areas such as the workplace and Citizens Advice Bureaux but it has failed to address how to fund and provide access to advice.”