Banking watchdog seeks consumer protection comms boost

The new regulator for the UK's financial sector is looking for agency help as it seeks to explain to consumers how it protects them.

Financial Conduct Authority: Looking to support its consumer comms team
Financial Conduct Authority: Looking to support its consumer comms team

The tender issued by the Financial Conduct Authority, which has now closed for applications, concerns the role of the FCA's newly created consumer comms division in "building confidence in, and understanding of" the organisation.

The FCA has so far mainly focused on companies that fall under its regulation, as well as stakeholders ranging from politicians to trade bodies, but according to the tender is now seeking to target the public.

The consumer team is looking at "delivering consumer protection through robust and creative consumer communications", something for which there is has been "no parallel" activity within the FCA or its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority.

As part of the newly developed strategy, it adds, the FCA will seek to position itself as "independent, predictable, outcome focused and consumer-minded" while "putting financial conduct on the agenda".

Ongoing banking scandals, such as the rigging of Libor rates, meant the FCA issued £472m in fines in 2013, an increase on the previous year’s total of £312m.

However, its head of supervision Clive Adamson came under fire from the Treasury Select Committee last week for his role in approving the appointment of disgraced former Co-op Bank chairman Paul Flowers while at the FSA in 2010. 

Flowers, who was allegedly caught buying drugs in a media sting last year, was described as "financially illiterate" by the committee's chairman Andrew Tyrie.

An FCA spokesman said: "Protecting consumers is at the heart of what we do and that includes communications, which is why we are looking for support on behavioural change campaigns. The tender is now closed to new applicants."

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