The European Commission has published its long-awaited Action Plan on Retail Financial Services. Notably the Action Plan has been rebranded as the “Consumer Financial Services Action Plan” and is less FinTech (financial technology) focussed than anticipated. Presumably, this work has been subsumed by the FinTech Task Force (FTTF), an internal Commission task force established in November 2016 tasked with developing a European strategy to address potential challenges posed by FinTech.
The Action Plan is comprised of 12 initiatives which will be developed and presented over the coming two years. Given that the Action Plan has taken over a year to finalise since the completion of the public consultation, it is less ambitious than foreseen and targets a patchwork of very specific barriers experienced by consumers.
The first of the actions are expected by Q4 2017, including:
- proposed amendments to the Regulation on cross border payments to reduce charges for cross border transactions;
- possible amendments to the Motor Insurance Directive to enhance the protection of accident victims and to improve the cross-border recognition of claims history statements;
- possible legislative or non-legislative actions to improve transparency in the car rental market;
- the publication of a European FinTech strategy by the FTTF; and
- steps to facilitate the cross-border use of electronic identification and know-your-customer portability based on eIDAS.
Throughout the following two years, the Commission will inter alia seek to facilitate cross border loans, improve the transparency of currency conversion practices and introduce common standards for creditworthiness assessments.