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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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How to reduce risks on the financial market - proposals of UOKIK

< previous | next > 20.09.2018

How to reduce risks on the financial market - proposals of UOKIK
  • The government is working on amendments to the provisions on corporate bonds.
  • Stricter supervision of sellers of financial products, penalties for managers, early warning of consumers – these are the proposals of UOKiK.
  • The changes would enable earlier detection of threats on the market and facilitate prevention of financial scandals.

It is necessary to increase supervision of sale of financial products, e.g. corporate bonds. The government is planning to amend the provisions. The President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection has submitted his proposals and comments to the Ministry of Finance. He also calls for the Ministry of Justice to recognise creation of pyramid schemes as a criminal action.

The issues we can observe on the market for investment products show that violation of consumer interests can be blamed on unreliable sellers, among others. For this reason, the changes in law should not only make the process of issue of corporate bonds transparent, but also increase supervision of the entities which sell them. This will make it possible to combat misselling, which means offering financial products to consumers when such products fail to match their needs,” says Marek Niechciał, President of UOKiK. “Moreover, supervisory authorities should be granted instruments which will enable them to quickly detect threats on the market for financial products and make combating them easier,” he adds.

Calls of UOKiK:

  • Creation of a register of entities selling financial products. It would contain information on the amount and type of products sold and the payment received for the sale. On this basis, a summary report would be created once per quarter. This information would enable analysis of sales trends and new phenomena on the market for financial products and services on an ongoing basis, as well as more accurate identification of selling entities to be audited. Such actions could lead to elimination of fraudulent market participants.
  • Creation of a centralised register of all bonds. It would contain information on the terms and conditions of issue, the purchasing entities and sale intermediaries.
  • Introduction of a limit on the commission for intermediaries selling investment products such as corporate bonds. In the opinion of UOKiK, the commission should not exceed 5% of the amount invested by the consumer. In the event that more entities should participate in the sale, they would need to split this amount.
  • Establishment of the maximum variations in the amount of commission. The aim is to create a situation where payment for sale of various products is more equal. This would limit the frequency of situations where products connected with the highest commission for the seller are offered at any cost.
  • Prohibition against use of the term “customer advisor” by bank employees or intermediaries selling investment products. It may lead consumers to mistakenly believe that the person is acting on their behalf, rather than in the interests of the company for which the person works.
  • Ability to impose financial penalties on managers. This refers to managers who intentionally allowed violation of provisions concerning the ban on practices violating collective interests of consumers by the company, e.g. exerted pressure on sellers to win as many customers as possible, even at the cost of misleading them.
  • Obligation to record the process of sale of financial products. Owing to that misled consumers could prove irregularities and as a result pursue their claims in court more easily.
  • The earliest possible warning against risky investments. Currently, UOKiK may issue a consumer warning only in the course of official proceedings concerning violation of collective interests of consumers. However, in urgent cases connected with a risk of major financial losses, UOKiK should have the right to disclose to the public the acquired information at an earlier stage of the case (investigation procedure).
  • More powers for UOKiK in proceedings in the scope of consumer protection. This refers to the ability to search the premises and belongings of an undertaking (currently, UOKiK can only do so in anti-trust cases), track financial flows and purchase products or services under an assumed identity, among other things. Owing to that, UOKiK could obtain evidence of fraud connected with sale of financial products in a more effective manner. Such instruments are provided for in Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws, which will enter into force in January 2020.
  • Improvement of exchange of information between administration bodies. It is currently difficult due to the fact that the KNF Office is bound by the rules of professional secrecy. The secrecy obligation should be excluded in cases where the President of UOKiK requests information important in the context of protection of collective interests of consumers. A similar proposal is included in the government draft amendment connected with strengthening supervision and protection of investors on the financial market.

Have you been misled and purchased a financial product? File a complaint. If you receive no response or your complaint is dismissed, contact the Financial Ombudsman. You should also notify the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. For more advice and information, please visit finanse.uokik.gov.pl.

Consumer support:

Phone: 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Branches of Consumer Federation
Consumer spokespersons – in your town or county

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office 
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 314
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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