The group has said that the new legislation does not go far enough and provides no help to those who currently have to struggle on without sufficient access to financial services.
The Financial Services Consumer Panel has urged the House of Lords to make some fundamental changes to the bill, which is about to be passed through for a second reading this week.
The body does not believe that the new legislation provides enough protection or rights to consumers who are vulnerable and require assistance to access the financial services sector.
The chairman of the consumer panel, Adam Phillips, described the opportunity to get the new regulations toughened up as ‘once in a lifetime,’ and said that the House of Lords should take the chance to make the sector ‘more accountable and transparent.’
The current proposal makes no reference to ensuring all Brits have access to financial services, an issue which is becoming increasingly urgent, as many banks continue to close their less profitable and out of town branches. For the elderly and vulnerable, this lack of financial services access could present a very real problem, as internet banking is not a viable alternative for many.
The consumer panel said that the Financial Services Bill should be enlarged to ensure those responsible for providing services and facilities are charged with a duty of care to customers.
Mr Phillips added that the legislation should make sure that all businesses were required to ‘act honestly, fairly and professionally,’ and that the regulators should be provided with the authority to disclose all information they receive in the course of their enquiries.