A new international organisation of financial consumer protection supervisory authorities was formally established at its AGM on 14 November, hosted by the Central Bank of Portugal. The new organisation which will be known as FinCoNet replaces the informal network of supervisory authorities which has existed for a number of years and builds on the work already started by that network. The overall aim of FinCoNet is to promote sound market conduct and strong consumer protection through efficient and effective financial market conduct supervision. FinCoNet will be focussing on banking and credit consumer protection issues. It aims to enhance the protection of consumers of financial services, strengthen consumer confidence and reduce systemic consumer risk by promoting strong and effective supervisory practices by sharing best practice and by promoting fair and transparent market practices. FinCoNet also intends to collaborate with other international bodies and contribute to advancing the G20s financial consumer protection agenda.

The initial priorities of FinCoNet include:

  • identifying effective approaches to assist supervisory authorities in carrying out their roles in financial consumer protection in banking and credit. Over the next year FinCoNet will look to build on the co-operative work undertook with the World Bank in the context of the Global Survey on Financial Consumer Protection to reach out to financial consumer protection supervisors to identify the strength and weaknesses of the various institutional arrangements, models and effective supervisory tools being used to address issues
  • examining how supervisory authorities can work to ensure responsible lending takes place.

FinCoNet will publish a report in 2014 based on the findings of a survey being carried out among supervisory authorities. It is expected that FinCoNet will work closely with the OECD in terms of its work programme. The new chair of FinCoNet is Bernard Sheridan of the Central Bank of Ireland.