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FCA set to review regulation of comparison websites

Martin Wheatley BBA Conference 2012 480

The Financial Conduct Authority will review the regulation of price comparison websites this year as it seeks to tackle misleading consumer information.

In its first annual risk outlook, published today, the FCA says comparison sites have been a “fundamental driver” in consumers’ focus on headline prices and brands.

The FCA says self-service online models increase consumer information and product choice in core general insurance markets but the focus on headlines distracts consumers from crucial product features such as coverage and terms.

The paper states: “[The FCA] will launch a review of compliance among price comparison firms and potential consumer protection issues these platforms raise.”

It adds: “As demand for price comparison sites continues to grow, these platforms could increasingly sell complex products that are marketed on price rather than coverage.

“These products may not be appropriate for the mass market, and which may provide a misleading impression of products on offer – consumers may not realise that not all products are displayed on price comparison websites.”

Major online comparison websites are already FSA regulated.

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Comments

There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “These products may not be appropriate for the mass market, and which may provide a misleading impression of products on offer – consumers may not realise that not all products are displayed on price comparison websites.”

    It’s an interesting statement from the forth coming FCA because basically after the implications of RDR and the exodus of High St advice, this is all thats left for your average man in the street as he can no longer afford good quality advice

  2. “marketed on price rather than coverage”

    ?

    I thought that was what regulators saw as the best value for ‘consumers’….

    Funny old world.

  3. “consumers may not realise that not all products are displayed on price comparison websites.” Maybe the websites should provide a list of products that are not on their sites and the reasons why those products are excluded? If advisers have to do it, why don’t websites?

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