The FSA has published a speech given by Clive Briault (Managing Director, Retail Markets, FSA) entitled Some wider aspects of fairness. In this speech Clive Briault discusses the FSA’s TCF initiative in the wider context of fairness. In the speech he considers what is meant by ‘fair’, who should determine fairness and how fairness should be determined. The key points from his speech are as follows:

  • Information exchange: Consumers. Here he notes that the impact of consumer actions prompted by the media, campaigns run by organisations ranging from consumer bodies to claims management companies, and by consumers themselves are increasing day by day. The moral for firms is to act before any action is taken.
  • Firms and consumers. Here he notes that where firms communicate effectively and clearly with their consumers there has been a reduced level of complaints.
  • What should the regulator tell the consumer? Here he sets out 5 points of particular importance which are as follows. Firstly, the FSA is already an open and transparent regulator which publishes a wide range of information. Secondly, the FSA is constantly asked to disclose even more information, particularly what it knows and thinks about individual firms. Thirdly, under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (the Act) the FSA is barred from disclosing information that it receives from or about individual firms when carrying out its functions under the Act, subject to some limited exceptions. Fourthly, the FSA sees both the benefits and risks of further transparency. In early 2008 the FSA plans to publish a Discussion Paper in which it will consider greater transparency. Fifthly, the Freedom of Information Act provides a further impetus towards more extensive transparency.
  • Cooperation among regulators. Here he states that the FSA and the Office of Fair Trading have a joint Action Plan designed to provide better regulatory outcomes. Finally in his conclusion Clive Briault states that it makes good business sense for firms to deliver TCF through being fair, open and transparent.

View Some wider aspects of fairness , 6 November 2007