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ERFF Update on EU Retail Financial Services
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ERFF: European Retail Financial Forum

RFS Spotlight November 2017

Monthly EU Retail Financial Services update


Since its launch in October 2015, ERFF has been working with representatives of business, consumers, and EU policymakers to create consensus on value-added ways to open up EU retail financial services (RFS) markets. ERFF’s RFS Spotlight brings you news on EU RFS policy, events, and creating benefits for customers and industry.
 

ERFF Consensus Paper on Financial Intermediaries


ERFF has recently turned the spotlight on the role of financial intermediaries and how to mobilize investment and savings in the European Union. Our latest Consensus Paper, published in October 2017, looks at some key challenges in this area. Recalling that one of the goals of the Capital Markets Union is to diversify the sources and opportunities for retail investment products, the paper describes some of the current cultural, regulatory and structural barriers. It also suggests possible solutions to tackle these barriers – from the application of a level regulatory playing field across different types of firms to the uses of Fintech.
 

Meanwhile…   


Both the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) have adopted Opinions on the Commission’s Action Plan on Retail Financial Services.

The EESC Opinion begins by welcoming the EC’s restraint from imposing regulatory measures, although a later point calls for regulation of "non-European IT giants" who use their databases to offer customized products direct to consumers.  Other remarks in the Opinion include a plea for attention on traditional retail banks and a request for the provision of independent, obligatory certified comparison tools. Read the full Opinion.

The European Parliament’s IMCO Opinion on the EC’s Retail Financial Services Action Plan is positive about the Commission’s focus on specific issues such as “cross-border transaction fees, pricing for car rentals, motor insurance and eIDAS”. However, while it applauds references to concrete actions and timings in several areas, it adds that the Action Plan “should be part of a longer-term vision for financial retail services in order to provide all stakeholders, including consumers and the financial markets, with transparency and certainty”. The Opinion supports innovation in FinTech and electronic identification technologies, and regrets the lack of a common European online banking payments system such as an EU-wide, European-owned, credit or debit card in the context of cross-border payments. At the same time, it stresses the importance of maintaining high-street banks. There is more on all the actions in the full Opinion.

Also in September, in case you missed it, the European Commission announced plans to reform the EU’s supervisory architecture to promote stronger and more integrated financial markets. These reforms are intended to pave the way to a full Capital Markets Union. They will also include steps to “foster the development of financial technologies (FinTech) and to make sure that sustainability considerations are systematically taken into account in supervisory practices at the European level”. The announcement stated that the ESAs will promote sustainable finance and prioritise FinTech while also coordinating national initiatives to promote innovation and cybersecurity. For more details of the EC’s announcement, read the Press Release. On a related note: ERFF will be holding a technical workshop on the Future of Retail Financial Services and FinTech in January 2018 – see ‘Coming up’ below.
 

Coming up…    
 

On Thursday, 9 November, EFA (European FinTech Alliance) and SME Europe will hold a joint event in the European Parliament on current EU FinTech regulatory activities and their market impact. The event will bring together key EU stakeholders and industry experts to share their experience and discuss the EU's ambitions for a competitive FinTech sector.

24 January 2018, ERFF Technical Workshop on the Future of Retail Financial Services and FinTech – the workshop will be kindly hosted by MEP Sven Giegold and a second MEP (to be confirmed). Its key themes will link to the Commission’s ongoing work on its consumer financial services Action Plan (especially Action 10) and the follow-up to the recent EC consultation on FinTech.

The workshop will feature presentations from policy makers, and consumer and business organisations followed by an open discussion.  Topics are likely to cover opportunities and risks offered by FinTech and technological innovations e.g. DLT, big data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity & use of data risks.

Expected attendees include policy makers, officials from DG FISMA and DG JUST, representatives of consumer organisations and businesses. If you would like to know more about attending the workshop, please contact us at info@erff.eu.
 

About ERFF

The European Retail Financial Forum (ERFF) brings together around one table consumers, business and policymakers to support the opening up of retail financial markets in Europe. Representing all aspects of the retail sector – traditional, wider investment and digital – we are customer-focused, favour removing key barriers, and increasing choice and transparency for all in ways that keep Europe competitive.

For further information, please contact us at: info@erff.eu

ERFF Secretariat
 


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