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

RFS Spotlight September 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.

New ERFF Discussion Paper

ERFF has published a new Discussion Paper ahead of the 2nd ERFF Annual Conference ‘Consumers at the heart of finance in Europe’ on 5th November 2019. This ‘Consumer Journey’ paper has been inspired by the ERFF 2019 Consumer Journey that set out to discover where consumer expectations are being met, and where this is not yet fully the case, in the context of EU regulation and legislation on retail financial services.

The Discussion Paper focuses on three key areas: opening a bank account and daily banking; obtaining credit; investment, pensions and insurance. These areas will also be core themes for the ‘Consumers at the heart of the finance in Europe’ conference. Many of the topics, from difficulties in cross-border banking to information overwhelm in investments, have arisen during the ERFF 2019 Consumer Journey and the dialogues we’ve had with consumer organisations, EC officials, Permanent Representations of the upcoming EU Council presidency countries, and new actors in retail finance such as major technology companies. At the conference, panel sessions and open discussion will provide opportunities to deepen thinking on the issues and potential solutions.  

See ‘Coming up… ' below for more details on the ERFF ‘Consumers at the heart of finance in Europe’ conference.


Over the summer, the new Commission has been taking shape. The list of Commissioners will now go to the European Parliament for approval, with the European Council due to vote on the final list on 23rd October so the Commissioners can take office on 1st November.
Although there are no specific priorities for retail financial services yet, looking into President-Elect Ursula von der Leyen’s Political Guidelines For The Next European Commission 2019-2024 and her mission letters to new Commissioners provides some clues. Von der Leyen talks about an ‘economy that works for people’ based on deeper economic and monetary union. She sees trade ‘not as an end in itself’, but as a ‘means to deliver prosperity at home and to export our values across the world’. In an associated Press Release she states: ‘My Commission will be a geopolitical Commission committed to sustainable policies’. 
More specifically, von der Leyen charges Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice President Designate for Economy and Commissioner for Financial services, with the mission to complete the Banking Union and speed up Capital Markets Union (CMU). She calls on the Commissioner to ‘make cross-border investments easier, to improve the supervisory system and to better harmonise insolvency and tax proceedings’. She also wants the Commissioner to develop: green financing; a strategy for SME funding and a FinTech strategy to ‘support new digital technologies in our financial system’; a new approach to money laundering; an understanding of the risks and opportunities of cryptocurrenices; and proposals to support Europe’s economic sovereignty.
In her mission letter to Sylvie Goulard, Commissioner Designate for Internal Market, von der Leyen in her mission letter stresses the importance of the single market and again underlines the role of SMEs. She calls for the removal of ‘artificial distinctions’ between digital and established markets, along with an intellectual property regime fit for the digital age. Linking to her plan for a European Green Deal, von der Leyen adds: ‘All parts of European industry should contribute fully to the objective of a climate neutral economy by 2050’.
Addressing Didier Reynders, Commissioner Designate for Justice, von der Leyen urges work on consumer protection ‘notably for cross-border and online transactions’. She wants consumers to be empowered to make informed choices and to ‘play an active role in the green and digital transitions’. In the digital domain, implementation and enforcement of the GDPR should be ensured, with Europe’s approach acting as a model for the rest of the world.
In case you missed it: on 25th July, the new rules on the pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) were published in the Official Journal, marking what the EU sees as key achievement of the CMU. The goal is to help channel more savings into long-term investments in the EU, promoting both growth and employment.

Coming up…   

9th October 2019, ERFF Members’ meeting and Working Lunch, 11h30 – 14h00: meeting to plan ERFF activities for 2020 based on members’ priorities and actions to support the new Commission’s priorities for retail financial services. This meeting is open to a limited number of non-members. If you are interested in ERFF membership and would like to attend, please contact us at:

5th November 2019, 2nd ERFF annual conference ‘Consumers at the heart of finance in Europe’, hosted by the EESC (European Economic and Social Committee), 9h00 - 13h00, Brussels. Confirmed speakers include Monica Calu, Consumer Law Expert, BSG-EBA member, IRSG-EIOPA, member Romanian Consumer Organisation; Paulo Silva, Legal Officer, DG FISMA. Panel sessions and open discussion on issues and potential solutions related to the consumer experience of retail financial services (especially cross-border). This event will be open to consumer representatives, EC officials, MEPs, and industry stakeholders. If you would like to receive an invitation, please contact us at

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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