European regulator sees increase in financial consumer complaints

ESMA today published a report that highlights an increase in financial consumer complaints. The number of complaints regulators have received in the first half of 2016 by financial consumers has increased, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) says.

ESMA’s recent report on trends, risks and vulnerabilities (TRV) reveals that the total number of complaints reported across the EU was 7,026 in 1H16 compared to 5,152 in 2H15.

Consumer complaints – ESMA

The three most common causes among complaints reported directly to national regulators in 1H16 were on:

  • execution of orders (31%);
  • quality/lack of information (19%); and
  • unauthorised business (15%).

One clear trend was an increase in the proportion of complaints relating to bonds and other debt securities, to become the most complained-about instrument. Turning to complaints categorised by the financial instrument, the leading types of instrument generating complaints in 1H16 were:

  • bonds and other debt securities (20%);
  • shares, stock and equity (17%);
  • options, futures and swaps (17%); and
  • financial contracts for difference, or CFDs (15%).

Complaints relating to investment advice, in contrast, have fallen markedly over recent years, which may be associated with measures taken by NCAs and ESMA. Additionally, complaints collected via firms highlight that fees and charges are increasingly causing concern to retail investors, which is likely to be linked to their increased prominence in the current market environment of very low yields.

ESMA works closely with national regulators to gain insight into the issues facing European retail investors and how those issues have evolved over time. ESMA collects data, analyses and reports on trends in the retail market for financial products, as part of its remit to promote transparency, simplicity and fairness in the market for consumer financial products or services across the internal market.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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