Financial services protection in Spain!

If you are British, you will know that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent body that regulates the financial services industry in UK. You will also know that the FSA recently issued its largest retail fine to HSBC because of inappropriate investment advice provided to elderly customers – thus showing that the FSA does have ‘teeth’.

However, Spain does not have a similar body.

Indeed, Spaniards have to defend their consumer rights when it comes to financial products and services in Spain through the Spanish courts. This is not an easy or cheap solution, particularly when an individual is battling a very large institution.

Worryingly, the Bank of Spain has never sanctioned bad banking practices and has even defended some of them!

In my view, the Spanish Government should consider the English model and create a supervisory agency for financial services protection in Spain, which defends the rights of consumers and bank users.  This would redress the balance of power between an individual and powerful financial institutions. Sadly, I have seen no sign of this happening.

As my clients say: “Spain is different” – for good and bad!

Carolina Just

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