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&#39Regulator must ensure change benefits public&#39

The Financial Services Consumer Panel is calling on the FSA to look at the overall impact of the retail reforms it is introducing this year to ensure they benefit the public.

Speaking at the FSA&#39s annual public meeting last week, FSCP chairman Ann Foster pointed to the many changes the regulator is introducing to the retail market, ranging from product changes and information disclosure to distribution models and the simplified sales process.

Foster is keen to ensure each change is of benefit and is asking the FSA to consider what the industry will look like once the changes have been made.

The FSA has claimed that each change will benefit consumers by providing greater choice, keener pricing or helping consumers to be better informed.

The FSCP also believes the FSA should consider raising its public profile and making its website more consumer-friendly.

Foster welcomes the FSA&#39s plans for financial capability but she warns that it could take a generation for consumers to be better informed about financial matters and says some will remain untouched. She does not see financial capability as a replacement for regulation.

She told the meeting: “We want the FSA to look at the impact of retail reforms it is introducing and ensure that they are successful. It should decide now what success will look like. The regulator should also try to promote the services it offers to consumers. It has to find a way of getting a higher public profile.”

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