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

RFS Spotlight January 2018

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 workshop identifies issues for the digital future

Where is regulation appropriate and where does it harm development of new services and products that could benefit consumers? ERFF kicked off 2018 with a technical workshop on the future of retail financial services and FinTech on 24th January, where issues like these were up for discussion. In posing this question, MEP Sven Giegold, who hosted the event, pinpointed the importance of balance – innovation and competition are to be encouraged, but consumers must be properly safe-guarded.
Certainly, there was plenty of enthusiasm for digitalisation, ‘bringing financial services into the 21st century’, from the policy makers and representatives of supervisory authorities, business, industry associations and consumers present. With PSD2 now applicable and the Commission’s Action Plan on FinTech due in March, the EC representatives believed that the environment is favourable for disruptive innovation which brings both greater competition and consumer benefits.

ERFF technical workshop 24 January 2018

But it’s not all plain sailing. Businesses called for supervisors who understand the challenges and can create the right conditions for innovation. Supervisory complexity and a lack of harmonisation across Europe remain issues, particularly for smaller FinTech start-ups. And both business and consumer organisations called for clarity in areas such as ‘RegTech’, outsourcing to the cloud and roboadvice. As the use of AI expands relentlessly, business and consumers are asking questions about the inner workings of algorithms, the quality of their inputs, and their recommendations and outcomes.



What’s happening on the EC’s Action Plan on consumer retail financial services? We hear from our sources that proposed amendments to legislation on Action point 1, lower charges on non-euro cross-border transactions are likely in March. On the topic of easier product switching (Action 3), the Commission is studying all the issues from consumer behavior to legal implications, so don’t expect findings until 2019. Similarly, there will be no immediate outcomes on Action 4 (the quality of comparison websites) where the EC is consulting with interested parties and looking at the implications for existing legislation, particularly the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.

Consultations and research are likewise in progress on access to cross-border consumer credit and creditworthiness assessments (Actions 7 and 9). Note, for those interested in these topics, ERFF is holding a technical workshop on 27 March, see Coming up… below. 

As mentioned in our opening article, the EC’s Action Plan on FinTech is due in early March (Action 10). However, while work on Action 11 (cross-border use of digital ID) will progress mainly through the activities of a new expert group on eID and remote KYC processes, any outcomes will not appear before 2019. Finally, on online selling of financial services (Action 12), stakeholder consultations are ongoing with results due by the end of 2018. These will also feed into a review of the Consumer Credit Directive.

In case you missed the announcements: PSD2 applies as of 12 January. The Commission’s PR of 12 January stresses its significance for consumers, with enhanced security for online payments. PSD2 is also designed to simplify market access for third-party payment service providers and facilitate expansion of the digital single market and e-commerce.  For a quick round-up of the key details, check out the EU’s PSD2 FAQ.

Coming up…    

27 March 2018, ERFF Technical Workshop on Cross-border access to consumer credit & creditworthiness assessments – hosted by MEP Josef Weidenholzer, rapporteur for the IMCO Committee on the EC’s Action Plan on Consumer Financial Services.

This is an opportunity for consumer and business organisations to engage with policy makers and supervisors in a roundtable discussion on these important topics in the EC’s Consumer FS Action Plan.

If you would like to know more about this workshop, please contact us at

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:

ERFF Secretariat

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