01May

Sue Lewis has been appointed as the new Chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel. She will take up her role on 1 July 2013.

Ms Lewis has a wide range of experience of representing the interests of consumers within financial services. She is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s professional standards board, a trustee of the Personal Finance Education Group and a trustee of debt advice charity StepChange. She has also served in an advisory capacity to consumer organisation Which? and has held senior policy roles in government departments including HM Treasury, the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office.

John Griffith-Jones, chairman of the FCA, said of the appointment: “”I am pleased to have been able to make such a strong appointment as Consumer Panel Chair. Sue Lewis has a passionate interest in consumer issues coupled with vast experience in financial services policy. I look forward to working closely with her and the Panel.” He also praised the role played by Ms Lewis’ predecessor, Adam Phillips. “Under his leadership the panel has gained a respected track record for advising the FSA and provided constructive input during the transition to the FCA,” added Mr Griffith-Jones.

The Panel exists to advise financial services regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on issues of concern to consumers. It is a legal requirement for the regulator to have a Consumer Panel, indeed the FCA’s predecessor the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has had such a Panel since its inception in 1998.

The Panel has previously campaigned vigorously for reform of the way financial advice is delivered. Its wishes for advisers to be better qualified and for commission payments to be abolished were granted when the FSA introduced a series of changes under the Retail Distribution Review in January 2013.

According to the Panel’s website at www.fs-cp.org.uk, issues of particular concern at the present time include:

  • That the new financial services regulatory regime introduced in April 2013 works in the interests of consumers
  • That consumer protection safeguards are preserved when the FCA takes over regulation of consumer credit from the Office of Fair Trading in April 2014
  • That lessons are learnt from the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal and that the general insurance market today operates in the interests of consumers in areas such as sales practices, policy terms and conditions, pricing and complaints handling
  • That the pension regime is reformed to take account of the ageing population and the reduced role of the state in providing retirement income
  • That the banking sector is reformed so that competition is increased and banks treat their customers fairly
  • That the FCA’s proposed changes to mortgage regulation do not adversely affect consumers