4-5 February 2016 – Mumbai, India‌

Co-hosted by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the OECD, with sponsorship from the Government of Japan, this seminar focused on key developments and challenges facing financial consumer protection and education in the region.

Specific themes debated include:

  • Emerging frameworks for financial consumer protection across Asia

  • Financial markets and better outcomes for consumers

  • Improving policy by analysing consumer complaints data

  • Technology and alternative delivery channels: the challenges for financial consumer protection

  • Promoting financial consumer protection, inclusion and investor education

This event brought together high-level government officials and experts from public authorities, including central banks and regulatory and supervisory authorities, ministries of finance and consumer and investor education bodies, as well as senior representatives from the private sector and academics from Asia.

The seminar was followed by the Asia Financial Consumer Protection Roundtable in the afternoon of 5 February 2016.


Session I : Challenges and opportunities: emerging frameworks for financial consumer protection and education in Asia 

Speakers provided a brief overview of their own jurisdiction’s current financial consumer protection policy, regulatory and supervisory developments.  

The Moderator opened the discussion and asked the speakers first, followed by the audience, to talk about the key financial consumer protection and market conduct challenges across the region, as well as providing critical insights and comments on the effectiveness of emerging policy, regulatory and supervisory frameworks for financial consumer protection and their importance for Asian economies.

Session II: Disclosure and transparency in banking and securities: meeting the needs of retail consumers

Jurisdictions have adopted different approaches to developing a regulatory and supervisory infrastructure to support financial consumer protection.  When designing and implementing an appropriate framework, policy makers, regulators and supervisors need to take into account the nature, scale and complexity of national/regional financial markets and the specificities of all market players.  The speakers  highlighted different institutional arrangements and commented on how an effective system for financial consumer protection regulation and supervision ensures that there are clear roles, responsibilities and objectives set for each authority involved.   

Session III: Confidence in financial markets: the role of financial dispute resolution schemes

Access to appropriate complaints handling and redress mechanisms plays a central role in helping financial services providers and their authorised agents maintain a healthy and trusted relationship with their customers, while promoting consumer confidence and achieving equitable outcomes.  Policy makers, regulators and supervisors can analyse financial consumer complaints data as a way to gain information and identify trends to improve market conduct and consumer risks, regulator gaps, systemic irregularities in the market place, and to assess the effectiveness of regulator measures and compliance with laws and regulations. 

Session IV: Responsible business conduct of financial service providers: main challenges

The impact of new technology and the development of alternative delivery channels for financial products and services, including the model of agent banking and through mobile, electronic and branchless distribution of financial services, can provide consumers with potential benefits, greater choice and access.  This session highlighted how consumers and in particular new market entrants can be empowered via new technology and the speakers addressed the appropriate policy, regulatory and supervisor mechanisms needed to ensure the safe and secure delivery of financial services through alternative delivery mechanisms and technological innovations.  

Session V : Educating investors to balance risk and rewards: enhancing the effectiveness of investor education

Widening the access to financial services to those on low incomes supports inclusive economic growth, helps to reduce social and economic inequalities and is a central policy concern for many Asian economies. The integration of effective financial consumer protection regimes with enhanced financial and investor education interventions are the foundations on which to  promote access to financial products and services, while at the same time, supporting the development of sustainable and sound financial systems.  This session identified key lessons on the co-ordination of overarching policy frameworks that integrate financial consumer protection, inclusion and investor education policies.