Retail financial services issues have now moved to centre stage in 2005, in the final phases of the FSAP” Commissioner McCreevy said on a reception on 26 January. “Integration of the retail financial services markets is a very complex task”, he continued. “We cannot assume that simply harmonising the legal rules for market access will increase the offer or indeed the take-up of cross-border financial services”.
The Commission cannot accept any blanket assumption that retail markets for all financial services should remain purely local. Some measures are already underway. For example, we gave significant preferential treatment to retail loans. The Commission will outline its more general thoughts on retail financial services in the forthcoming “post-FSAP” Communication, which we plan to present in May of this year.
Our general approach in the post FSAP era will be to consult widely and carry out a thorough cost-benefit analysis before launching any policy. But our intention is to intervene with very carefully crafted actions only in response to specific market failures or regulatory gaps, in those areas – and those areas only- where further integration is most likely to deliver tangible benefits to all stakeholders.
One area we have already identified as requiring attention is mortgage credit. We are also working on retail payment issues (and) at the area of asset management. The current EU legislation on collective investments (UCITS) has had some success in facilitating the cross-border offer of collective investments to retail investors.
© Graham Bishop
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