Baroness Tyler of EnfieldMain Page: Baroness Tyler of Enfield (Liberal Democrat - Life peer)
Department Debates - View all Baroness Tyler of Enfield's debates with the Leader of the House
The noble Lord, Lord McNicol of West Kilbride, has withdrawn from the debate, so I call the next speaker, the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler of Enfield.
The regulatory principle at present that firms should treat customers fairly only, in my view, enshrines a weak duty to the consumer. This is further weakened by the principle in the Financial Services and Markets Act that consumers should take responsibility for their decisions. We have already heard examples today of how treating customers fairly does not remove conflicts of interest and or provide sufficient deterrents to firms from mis-selling products and services. Bluntly put, the consumer responsibility principle fails to take into account the imbalance in market power between firms and their customers. Overdraft charges are a good example. It was clear that these were disproportionately falling on more financially vulnerable customers, and banks could and should have known that and done something about it. They did not act by themselves so regulation was introduced. That is why I support a duty of care on firms to act in their customers’ best interests.