Joint contribution by the TUAC, the ITUC & UNI Finance to the OECD public consultation on “Draft G20 High-Level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection”



  • 1108t_cmf_consumerpdf


In a written submission to the OECD, the TUAC, ITUC and UNI Finance expressed their concern over the lack of ambition of the draft OECD proposal for G20-level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection and called on the OECD to strengthen both the status and the content of the Principles.

The Principles are an initiative of the G20 Finance Ministers and the Financial Stability Board (FSB), developed in response to the major regulatory failures exposed after the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Trade unions welcomed the initiative in the hope that it would strengthen the protection of consumers and working families against abusive sales practice by credit institutions, insurance groups and their intermediaries and agents.

The Draft, however, falls short of trade union expectations. First, it states that the Principles are non-binding and voluntary. Accordingly, banks, insurers and other financial intermediaries and their regulators are free either “not to respect” the Principles or to “pick and choose” some parts, while disregarding others. This is unhelpful. “If adopted as it is today”, the trade union submission reads, “at best the Principles will have very limited impact on the ground and, at worst, they could serve to undermine efforts to strengthen financial regulation and supervision by giving uncritical support for self-regulation and voluntary approaches”.

Moving ahead, the joint TUAC, ITUC and UNI Finance submission make proposals to rebalance and improve the text, including:

  • Enhance the powers of regulators, including the power of sanctioning;
  • Develop higher standards for disclosure and transparency of financial products and services to customers;
  • Ensure that working conditions within credit and insurance institutions and their sales agents are conducive to equitable and fair treatment of customers;
  • Recognise the role of trade unions in promoting financial consumer protection;
  • Commit G20 countries to support independent and representative civil society consumer groups;
  • Ensure that the Principles are binding on G20 regulators, banks and insurers.