The need for Consumer Protection arises from asymmetry of power, information and resources between Financial Institutions and their customers. For example, if customer with poor financial knowledge & skills make poor financial choices, this will not only lead to financial fragility of that customer but on a macro level, will result in greater market susceptibility to fraud and abuse. This will tarnish customers’ trust in financial markets and ultimately the playfield for the Financial Institutions will shrink.
A comprehensive Consumer Protection policy empowers customers to obtain fair information while enhancing their capabilities to make informed financial decisions, ultimately leading to greater transparency and efficiency as well as higher Financial Inclusion and greater trust in the services of any Financial Institution. Greater financial coverage will also amplify profits for the Financial Service Providers, too. These high-level consumer protection principles are now used worldwide by financial regulators to complement their existing financial regulations.
Policy Objectives and Guiding Principles:
Consumer Protection sets clear rules of conduct for financial institutions regarding their consumers. It aims to ensure that consumers:
Receive information to allow them to make informed decisions, are not subject to unfair or deceptive practices and have access to recourse mechanisms to resolve disputes.
1. Impartial and Just Treatment:
MSP will deal fairly and honestly with consumers at all stages of their relationship, so that it is an integral part of the culture of the institution. Care will also be made and special attention given to the needs of vulnerable persons and groups (widows, orphans, minorities and disabled persons).
2. Clear & Timely disclosure: MSP will provide up to date information about products and services to consumers.
This information will be easily accessible, clear, simple to understand, accurate, not misleading and include any potential risks for the consumer. It will include the rights and responsibilities of each party, including the details of fees, pricing and any potential penalties that the customers may incur.
3. Financial education and awareness:
MSP will develop programmes and appropriate mechanisms to help existing and future consumers develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to appropriately understand risks, including financial risks and opportunities, make informed choices, know where to go for assistance when they need it.
4. Behavior and work ethics:
MSP will work in a professional manner for the benefit of clients during their relationship, where it is primarilyresponsible for the Protection of the financial interests of the client.
5. Protection against fraud & invasion of privacy:
MSP will protect and monitor consumer financial assets through the development of control systems with a high level of efficiency and effectiveness to reduce fraud, embezzlement or misuse of both the asset and the related information.
6. Complaints handling:
Consumers will have access to adequate complaints handling mechanisms (separate policy on complaints redressal mechanism is in place) that are accessible, affordable, independent, fair, accountable, timely and efficient and compliant with regulations.
Upon access of all relevant information, Consumers will be able to search, compare and where appropriate, switch between products, services and providers easily and clearly at a reasonable cost.
8. Fair Treatment of Consumers throughout Product Life Cycle:
MSP believes that the fair treatment of customers is synonymous to a consumer-centric approach of conducting business that reaps higher customer satisfaction. Simply put, fair treatment of customers involves ensuring that the products and services offered by MSP are suitable for the customers and appropriate to their risk profile, pricing is transparent and nondiscriminatory and that the service is delivered in a speedy, safe and secure environment.