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

RFS Spotlight December 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.
 

What’s in store for 2018?


With 2018 almost upon us, what will the New Year bring? Firstly, we understand that the Commission’s FinTech Action Plan will be published in March, largely based on the key findings from the public consultation. Don’t expect a big flurry of new regulation, although there are likely to be proposals for regulating crowd-funding, including peer to peer lending. Following the October European Council conclusions, a new strategy for AI and Blockchain is expected in February.

Bulgaria will take over the Presidency of the EU Council in January, so its preparations are in full swing. What can we expect in the financial domain? From our contacts, we understand that PEPP, insurance mediation and Banking Union, particularly the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS), are among key priorities. Seeing “electronic banking as the future”, Bulgaria is also keenly awaiting the EC FinTech Action Plan. (ERFF is busy on this topic too, our next technical workshop on 24th January is on the Future of Retail Financial Services & FinTech in Europe. See below.)

You can find out more on Bulgaria’s priorities on its Ministry of Finance website where Deputy Minister of Finance, Marinela Petrova, notes another key theme: “…. our country will be stressing the need for opening all EMU enhancing initiatives up to non-euro area members, for making them transparent and non-discriminatory and for observing the single market principles.” 
 

Meanwhile…   


On 14 November 2017, the European Parliament voted to adopt the own-initiative report on the EC’s Action Plan on Consumer Retail Financial Services.  The EP’s resolution gives the Action Plan (AP) a largely positive though somewhat mixed reception. It notes that “some of the concerns” raised in the Parliament’s report on the earlier Green Paper have been taken into account. But it believes “… that the Action Plan falls short of the ambition to create a regulatory environment conducive to transparency, growth and innovation and with a high level of trust on the part of businesses and consumers in retail financial products;…”

On FinTech for retail financial services (AP Action 10), MEPs voiced their support for innovation as a driver of competition and for the Commission’s FinTech Task Force. Here the caveats were fairness and safeguards. The MEPs called on the Commission to “to examine its resolution on ‘FinTech: the influence of technology on the future of the financial sector’, to promote consumer protection, security, innovation and fair competition, and to ensure that the principle of ‘same services, same risks, same rules, same supervision’ applies to all companies regardless of their sector or location.”

MEP Sven Giegold, who is kindly hosting the ERFF technical workshop on The Future of Retail Financial Services and FinTech in Europe on 24 January 2018, told ERFF that he welcomes the opportunity to focus on these topics. "It is important to explore how FinTech and innovation can enhance the customer experience and expand the benefits of competition and cross-border products, while also guaranteeing proper safeguards for consumers and financial stability," he said.

Elsewhere, added consumer convenience and safety were central to the Commission’s announcement on new rules to implement the EU's Payment Services Directive (PSD2) – dated 27 November. The rules are designed to ensure consumers extra security when making electronic payments, especially online. In addition, the new rules recognise the advance of FinTech, giving consumers the right to use innovative new payment solutions from third-party service providers, without their bank being able to refuse them this possibility.

Also seeking greater consumer protection, in this case from European supervisors, BEUC, Finance Watch, Better Finance, AGE Platform Europe, EFIN and COFACE Families Europe sent an open letter to the Commission on 24 November. They argue vigorously for the EU to go further in its reform of the European Supervisory Agencies (ESAs) - specifically to create a clear separation of conduct of business supervision from prudential supervision. The signatories state that such a reform would be in the interests of consumers and greater EU market integration alike.
 

Coming up…    
 

24 January 2018, ERFF Technical Workshop on the Future of Retail Financial Services and FinTech in Europe – hosted by MEP Sven Giegold, this workshop will dive into key themes linked to the Commission’s ongoing work on its consumer financial services Action Plan (especially Action 10) and the follow-up to the EC consultation on FinTech.

Policy makers, financial supervisors, consumer and business organisations will have the opportunity to engage directly in an open roundtable discussion under the themes of National Supervisory Convergence and Demystifying Data. Speakers will include Peteris Zilgalvis, DG Connect and Peter Kerstens, DG FISMA co-chairs of the EC FinTech Task Force; Ralf Jacob, DG FISMA; Isabelle Buscke from the Federation of German Consumer Organisations, and Mirèl ter Braak, Senior Policy Advisor, Financial Markets Authority, NL.

If you would like to know more about this 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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