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

RFS Spotlight April 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 talks to EC on Action Plan for retail financial services

What’s next now that the EC’s Action Plan (AP) on retail financial services has been published? ERFF met with Ralf Jacob, Head of Unit retail financial services, DG FISMA, and Renatas Mazeika, Head of Unit consumer policy, DG JUST, on 4 April to discuss how to support the AP’s goals of ‘better products’ and ‘more choice’.

This said, with only 7% of activity currently cross-border, the AP’s aim of a single market in retail financial services seems (as yet) far from relevant for consumers. We heard that the EC recognises change will take time, with an initial focus on citizens who move frequently – for instance, through portability of no-claims bonuses for motor insurance.

For the longer term, the EC aims to help remove barriers for instance by extending eIDAS to the private sector, which would facilitate online digital identification. But short-term issues also are on the Commission’s mind, especially a key consumer concern – dynamic currency conversion and fees on cross-border non-Euro transactions. Watch out for action on this before the end of 2017.

Competition and choice

The EC wants easier switching (beyond purely payment accounts) and to give consumers wider access to credit with more cross-border provision. However, before consumers and industry reap the benefits, it’s clear there is still much to discuss on issues such as future-proof digital payments, open banking and data sharing.

Nonetheless, the European Retail Payment Board is already working on standards for data sharing between banks and third parties, and the EC wants to move quickly towards a standardised interface for third party providers.

More on FinTech in a new ERFF Consensus Paper

ERFF addresses a number of the issues outlined above in its latest Consensus Paper ‘FinTech in retail financial services’, which looks at obstacles and solutions in three areas: new and better services,  open banking, and regulatory and supervisory issues.

And we’ll be taking the discussion further at ERFF’s technical workshop on Innovative use of data on 6 June to be co-hosted by Sophie in't Veld, MEP and EESC member, Martin Siecker, President of the Internal Market section. See details in ‘Coming up’ below .


If you haven’t participated yet, the EU public consultation on FinTech for “a more competitive and innovative European financial sector” continues until 15 June 2017.

It seeks “… perspectives on new technologies' impact on the European financial services sector ….., and whether the regulatory and supervisory framework fosters technological innovation in line with its three core principles of technologic neutrality, proportionality and integrity.”

MEP Cora van Nieuwenhuizen's Own Initiative report FinTech: influence of technology on the future of the financial sector is scheduled for debate in plenary session on 15 May, with a vote on 16 May.


Coming up…    

11 May 2017: Spotlight on Blockchain: a new generation of digital services. A joint event between STOA (European Parliament) & DG CONNECT (European Commission). 9h00 – 14h00, European Parliament. Registration required, places are limited.

6 June 2017: ERFF Technical Workshop on Innovative use of data. Provisional topics: Big Data, consumer consent, trust, security, transparency, portability, benefits for consumers, use of data for creditworthiness assessments. 12h00-14h00, EESC. Co-hosts Martin Siecker, EESC and MEP Sophie in’t Veld. Open to members and invited guests. Click here to receive details.

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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