Finance industry to put customers first

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The Independent Online

The Consumers' Association will next week unveil plans to create a new consumer kite-mark for the financial services industry, rewarding companies which put customers at the top of their agenda, alongside their shareholders.

The Consumers' Association will next week unveil plans to create a new consumer kite-mark for the financial services industry, rewarding companies which put customers at the top of their agenda, alongside their shareholders.

The first step, to be revealed at a CA conference on Wednesday, will be to establish a new consumer code to which financial services companies will be encouraged to voluntarily adhere. The CA hopes to get the support of the Financial Services Authority in establishing its kite-mark system, which would then be used to highlight the companies which keep their consumers' interests at the fore.

Mick McAteer, a senior policy adviser for the CA, said the code was being drawn up to ensure that as financial services companies re-assess their corporate governance policies, they will also be forced to bear the interests of their customers in mind at a board level.

"We believe one of the key reasons that sectors of the financial services market have failed consumers is that there is little mutuality of interests between consumers and producers - and shareholders," he said.

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