A manifesto for financial mutuals

A Manifesto for Financial Mutuals

The  Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) and the Building Societies Association (BSA) have today launched a four pronged manifesto to help ensure consumers get a fair deal from financial services. The campaign groups representing building societies and mutual insurers across the country have called for action from 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:

• A fair deal for consumers
• A level playing field for financial mutuals
• A rational approach by regulators to capital
• A more coordinated approach to promoting mutuals, creating a stronger savings culture and tackling the housing crisis

Robin Fieth, Chief Executive of the BSA commented:

“There is a widespread consensus that a diverse financial sector benefits consumers and the economy alike. Therefore, it is a bitter irony that in the effort to address poor behaviour by some plcs and prevent 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.”

Martin Shaw, Chief Executive of the AFM added:

“Consumers are being left with little choice but to go back to the very firms that caused the last recession in the first place. 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.”

A fully copy of the Manifesto is available to download here

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