The Central Bank has launched a discussion paper ahead of its planned review of the Consumer Protection Code.
Gabriel Makhlouf (Governor of the Central Bank, pictured) described the code as “a cornerstone of consumer protection in financial services in Ireland”.
He said that the aim of the review was to ensure that the rules protecting consumers remained “fit for purpose and future-ready”.
The paper published today (3 October) is part of a programme designed to hear the views and experiences of a wide range of people and organisations.
“The financial landscape is currently experiencing significant changes on a number of fronts,” Makhlouf stated.
“We have been clear that firms must navigate these changes in a manner that places the best interests of consumers at the heart of their commercial decision-making, and avoids creating risks to consumers,” he said, adding that the regulator would intervene when it judged that firms were not doing enough.
The Central Bank governor said that any changes to the code would have to be informed by insights from those whom it was seeking to protect, as well as those it regulated.
The discussion paper highlights several key themes, and asks a series of questions on which interested parties can give feedback.
One of these asks how technological innovation in financial services can be supported, while still ensuring that consumers are protected.
It repeats the regulator’s concerns about certain crypto-based products - in particular where they are unregulated, or “promoted purely for speculative purposes”.
The paper also calls for a wider social-policy discussion on the impact of technological changes on access to basic services, such as cash.
Those interested in giving their views can visit the Central Bank website and complete an online survey.
The regulator plans to engage with interested parties on topics that include:
- Availability and choice of financial products,
- Firms acting in consumers’ best interests,
- Innovation and disruption,
- Vulnerability, and
- Financial literacy.
The Central Bank will use feedback to propose changes to the code, which will then be subject to a formal public consultation.