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Farnish role is to aid the public

One of the most often quoted members of the regulator, at least in the consumer press, is Christine Farnish. As director of consumer affairs, she probably has a higher profile than anyone else at the FSA other than chairman Howard Davies.

Her official mandate is to promote public understanding of financial services and products and to help ensure the effectiveness of consumer protection. What that means is she is responsible for making sure consumers understand the products they are investing in.

Farnish has been at the forefront of a number of FSA initiatives such as stakeholder decision trees, comparative information tables, fact-finds and its consumer website offering generic industry information.

She chaired the FSA&#39s past performance taskforce which last month recommended that if providers refer to past performance in their ads they should include a risk warning in the main text.

Farnish&#39s division has also been responsible for setting up the new financial ombudsman and compensation schemes and supporting the financial services consumer panel. It carries out considerable consumer research to support FSA policy development.

Prior to joining the FSA, Farnish was consumer affairs director and later acting deputy director general at Oftel, the telecommunications regulator. She has also spent considerable time in various senior positions in local government.

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