Commission launches consultation on retail financial services

EU consultation iconThe European Commission has launched a green paper on retail financial services, as part of its plan for a capital markets union. It is possible to respond to a public consultation on the green paper until 18 March 2015. With the green paper, the Commission wants to further open up capital markets for consumers and investors, while maintaining consumer protection.

The Commission wants to strengthen EU financial markets such as insurance, loans, payments, current and savings accounts and investment products, by increasing competition, lowering fragmentation of markets and reducing price differentials for the same kind of product between member states. Digitalisation has changed business practices and poses both challenges and opportunities: financial transactions become faster, providers can compete on a larger market, but challenges exist in the protection of privacy and protection from fraud.

The Commission provides examples where an improved internal market could yield benefits for consumers: charges for credit cards or life insurance products are very different according to member states, for example. Also, frameworks to switch between providers of financial services can encourage more active consumer behaviour. In the consultation, the Commission asks for ways how these situations can be improved.

For older persons, financial products are an important factor of their quality of life. Personal pensions often depend on life insurances and savings products, selling or buying property is an important transaction and age discrimination exists for examples in areas such as vehicle or travel insurance. AGE therefore believes that an improved internal market can also improve the quality of life of older persons. AGE will prepare a response to the consultation.

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