Which? says the Financial Services Authority still has a long way to go before it can claim that consumers are properly protected.
The consumer body says that the FSA is has not been transparent enough in tackling consumer detriment and calls for better regulation.
Which? criticises the FSA for not naming and shaming those companies who are non-compliant with financial promotions regulation. It says the FSA does not report publicly which adverts have been complained about or the outcome of its investigations unless full enforcement action has been taken.
Which? also raises concerns about financial advice, saying that its research into financial advisers shows that less than a third reached its benchmarks for good advice.
The consumers’ association says FSA should be bolder about publishing the outcomes of its mystery shopping and says good research is undermined because of the FSA’s unwillingness to name and shame.
Which? head of campaigns Louise Hanson says: “The FSA has had a busy five years and yet many of their major challenges in the retail financial area have left consumers exposed. We believe they have not been open and transparent enough in tackling detriment or in robustly challenging the industry.
“Which? isn’t calling for more legislation or regulation, what we need is better regulation and the FSA to use its existing powers and tools more flexibly and more imaginatively to ensure proper enforcement and an effective deterrent for industry.”