Financial mutuals launch campaign to get a better deal for consumers

13th November 2014

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The Building Societies Association (BSA) and the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) have launched a campaign in a bid to ensure consumers get a better deal.

The two trade organisations, which represent building societies and mutual insurers across the country, describe the campaign as a “four pronged manifesto”.

Together they have called on the Government and regulators ahead of next year’s General Election to fix the regulatory and legal imbalance that could stifle the mutual sector.

‘A Manifesto for Financial Mutuals’, aims to level the playing field between shareholder controlled plcs and mutually owned providers. It calls for:

The campaigners assert that consumers are being left with little choice but to go back to the very firms that caused the last recession in the first place.

Martin Shaw, chief executive of the AFM said: “Far from fostering diversity and ensuring the financial sector is more resilient, the present regulatory landscape is tilted towards a one size fits all model.

“It should be a national scandal that not a single new mutual has been set up since the last decade of the last century. Politicians need to translate their aspirations for greater diversity into concrete actions to help the financial mutuals sector to compete on level terms, and to deliver a fairer marketplace for consumers”

Robin Fieth, chief executive of the BSA added: “There is a widespread consensus that a diverse financial sector benefits consumers and the economy another financial crisis, the resulting legislative and regulatory framework threatens to undermine rather than support corporate diversity.

“Ratcheting up regulation across the board is leading to a matrix of rigid rules that disproportionately affects mutuals. Instead, the differences inherent in the mutual structure should be considered side by side with other types of financial services businesses. Today we are setting out a plan to redress the balance and strengthen the mutual sector.”

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