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Which? wants early warning of FSA action

Which? is calling for the FSA to make a public announcement about firms when they face enforcement action rather than waiting until a fine has been issued.

At last week’s Treasury select committee hearing, Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said the public have a right to know if the FSA finds problems within a firm.

He said: “Keep it between the FSA and the firm until the point of enforcement but once a company has been placed in enforcement, the public has a right to know what problems exist. At the moment, the FSA waits until a fine has been levied.”

Which? principal policy adviser Dominic Lindley criticised the FSA’s past work in dealing with consumer detriment. He said: “When it did identify detriment, it spent a lot of time conducting thematic work instead of taking strong action. When it eventually did impose fines, they were such a low percentage of what companies made from misselling products that it is not surprising it did not have a disciplining effect on the market.”

Lindley also criticised the FSA’s refusal to release the names of five firms it found not to be treating customers fairly on mortgage arrears.

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