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CBS holds public meetings on proposed financial consumer bill | 30 June 2020

CBS holds public meetings on proposed financial consumer bill

Ms Vital giving a presentation during the meeting on Saturday (Photo: Louis Toussaint)

The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are conducting a series of public consultations as part of the review process of a new piece of legislation aimed at strengthening consumer protection in the financial sector.

The latest public meeting took place on Saturday at the International Conference Centre (ICCS) and was attended by the Governor of the Central Bank, Caroline Abel; the chief executive of SFA, Steve Fanny; representatives of the two entities and attendees.

The law allows in the first instance for both the consumers and the financial service providers to mediate their differences among themselves further to seeking direct mediatory assistance from CBS and FSA as the financial regulators.

Marco Francis, a corporate service provider who attended the meeting, noted that he was disappointed with the turn-out.

“When a law is made it affects everyone and it is difficult to change it later on so I think the public should make an effort to attend these meetings,” said Mr Francis.

He added that overall the meeting was very open, noting that he wanted to know the urgency to make such a law but the panel could not give any statistic on the customer demand for requiring this law.

“I would like to see a law that covers all consumers not just the regulated ones. I pushed my suggestion forward and I hope they take it into consideration,” Mr Francis said.

On his part Dr Fanny noted that the turnout was disappointing as the law will affect a lot of people and it would have been appreciated to get their input on it before it is passed.

“We expected a bigger turnout on Mahé because most providers are here on the island and we wanted to get their views on the matter,” Dr Fanny said.

“The benefit of the consultations is that in view that the financial services affect the public in regards to access to those services as individuals and businesses, it will help them to engage with us to highlight their concerns such that we are clear that the proposed legislation has covered the maximum realities that they are facing,” said Beggita Vital, senior market conduct analyst, Financial Inclusion and Market Conduct division.

She noted that the law will give both regulators more power than before to directly mediate dispute between clients and financial service providers.

The law is being administered by the two regulators in the financial sector, that is CBS and FSA. CBS will cover banks, bureaux de change and mobile money while FSA will cover gambling institutions and insurance companies.

Giving a brief overview of the bill, Ms Vital stated that while it is the obligation of the financial service providers to show transparency in their services, it will also be the responsibility of the consumers, among other responsibilities, to educate themselves on the products and services on offer and to also bear in mind to respect their terms of contract and obligations.

She noted that non-compliance with the law by the financial service providers will result in suspension of licenses in part or in full, partial or total suspension of products and services or to refund the consumer affected.

The next meeting will be held at Anse Boileau on July 4.

 

Christophe Zialor

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