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

RFS Spotlight March 2019

Monthly EU Retail Financial Services update

Since its launch in October 2015, ERFF has been bringing together business, consumers and EU policymakers through workshops and events to seek 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 Consumer Journey continues

ERFF members and associates got together on 25th February to take another step on ERFF’s 2019 Consumer Journey. Officials from DG FISMA and DG JUST joined for a wide-ranging discussion on the future of consumer financial services. As the data-driven revolution proceeds, the big tech companies are coming into the market, offering financial products on their platforms. For all stakeholders in the digital world, data is wealth; yet consumers are often unclear on how their data is used, and uncertain on how to give or withhold consent to its use. At the same time, they are confronted with long and complex product documentation, which does not help in making well-informed financial decisions.

All this makes putting consumers first a key priority. DG JUST and DG FISMA are carrying out studies to better understand the issues e.g. into digitalization of financial services and the legal and behavioral barriers to switching between providers. Meanwhile, the EC review of the Consumer Credit Directive is advancing. The feedback period on the public consultation is due to close on 8 April.

ERFF’s 2019 Consumer Journey is looking at the consumer experience in retail financial services across a lifetime from youth to retirement. We're joining with industry and consumer representatives to explore what’s working and what isn’t in terms of EU policy and legislation.

Our first step was a dialogue with consumer representatives in January. Now, following these recent discussions, ERFF is drafting a paper focused on 3 key areas – opening a bank account (cross-border and eID issues); obtaining credit (data, GDPR issues); investment, pensions and insurance (information overload, MiFiD 2, PRIIPS and KID).

We will be organizing a further dialogue with consumer organizations in late May to discuss the draft. If you represent a consumer organization and would like to be involved, please contact us:

The ERFF Consumer Journey process and associated paper will provide input for a planned 2nd joint EESC / EERF conference on ‘Consumers at the heart of finance in Europe’ in late September. We aim to make this an opportunity for open exchange among all stakeholders, including new members of the new European Parliament and Commission.

This conference was also among the topics on the table when ERFF met with members of the Finnish Permanent Representation in early March to discuss Finnish priorities in financial services for its upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU during the second half of this year.


The vision of a pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) is closer to becoming reality following a political agreement in European Parliament and Council on 13th February 2019. The PEPP will be a voluntary retirement savings scheme that complements existing public and occupational pension systems. Formal adoption of the PEPP is expected within the next few months. According to the EC’s press release savers should benefit from more competitively priced products, while providers will be able to sell the product anywhere in the EU. A common set of rules will “guarantee strong investor protection”.

Creation of the PEPP supports the EC’s Capital Markets Union action plan whose many points also included new prospectus regulation to support investors making investments in company securities. The existing regime has proved onerous and costly for businesses, particularly smaller ones, so the as of 21 July 2019, the rules will be improved, with among other things, the introduction of a “retail investor-friendly summary of key information”.

Coming up…   

9 April 2019 – ERFF meeting with the European Data Protection Board – to discuss how the work of the EDPB impacts retail financial services. Open to ERFF members and associates, and invited guests only.

Late May 20192nd ERFF / consumer organizations dialogue.  If you represent a consumer organization and are interested in being involved, please contact us:

About ERFF

The European Retail Financial Forum (ERFF) brings together, through workshops and events, 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 consumer-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:

ERFF Secretariat

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