Call for single ‘gateway’ to FSA, FOS and Money Advice Service

A “financial services gateway” should be set up to provide consumers with a single point of access to regulatory bodies such as the FSA and the Financial Ombudsman Service, according to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

FSCS chief executive Mark Neale proposed the idea during a speech to the Insurance Institute of London today.

Neale said it was important that consumers understood the level of protection offered by the compensation scheme to improve financial stability.

He argued it was difficult for consumers to understand the various roles of bodies such as the FSA, the FOS, the FSCS, and the Money Advice Service.

Neale believes the answer could lie in a type of “financial services gateway”, akin to the Directgov portal which directs consumers to information on things like employment, tax and motoring.

Neale said: “We should make life easier for the consumer who struggles to distinguish between the alphabet soup of bodies active in the regulatory field, FSA, FOS, FSCS, MAS and so on, and who struggles to understand the different compensation limits applying to different products.

“Why not take the opportunity of regulatory reform to put in place a single gateway to the regulatory agencies – a financial equivalent of Directgov – so that consumers can get easy access to the services they need.”

He also suggested a greater harmonisation of compensation limits across financial products.

In an interview with Money Marketing in September, Neale said the FSCS was abandoning the £4m advertising campaign it launched last January after it failed to raise consumer awareness of the scheme.

The FSA announced proposals last month to require all banks, building societies and credit unions to display compensation limits for savers and details of where they should go in the event of a bank failing.

Deposits of up to £85,000 are protected by the FSCS.