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E X E C U T I V E S U M M A R Y O F T H E A N N U A L R E P O R T 2 0 1 4

9

Protecting consumers

and monitoring financial

innovation

The EBA plays a key role in consumer protec-

tion by promoting transparency, simplicity and

fairness in the market for financial products

and services with a focus on mortgages, per-

sonal loans, savings products, credit/debit

cards, current accounts and payment services.

In 2014, the EBA published its annual consumer

trends report jointly with the European Insur-

ance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EI-

OPA) and the European Securities and Markets

Authority (ESMA). The EBA also organised the

second Joint ESAs Consumer Protection Day in

London in June 2014. The EBA also continued

its work towards recognising and monitoring

innovative products and services to ensure ad-

equate protection to consumers, investors and

depositors across the EU.

Protecting consumers

In 2014, the EBA issued regulatory guidelines

across the life cycle of the product, i.e. at the

pre-sale, point of sale and post-sale stages of

the interaction between the consumer and the

financial institution.

The EBA has developed and consulted de-

tailed guidelines on product oversight and

governance arrangements for retail banking

products. The guidelines require the estab-

lishment of internal arrangements for the

design, marketing and life cycle maintenance

of products and are aimed at ensuring prod-

ucts are designed to meet interests, objec-

tives and characteristics of the target market.

They apply to manufacturers of retail banking

products and to distributors. The EBA aims to

produce a feedback statement and finalise the

guidelines in spring 2015.

In addition, the EBA developed and consulted

technical advice specifying the criteria and

factors that itself and competent authorities

should take into account when determining

whether there is a significant investor protec-

tion concern with regard to structured depos-

its or a threat to the orderly functioning and

integrity of financial markets. The EBA, ESMA

and EIOPA also published a consultation paper

on draft Joint Committee guidelines on cross-

selling practices in the financial sector across

the EU. The ESAs expect to finalise the feed-

back statement and guidelines later in 2015.

The EBA also commenced work in the area

of payment accounts, and its continuous fo-

cus on mortgages resulted in the publication

of a consultation paper on draft guidelines

on creditworthiness assessments under the

Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) in Decem-

ber 2014. The EBA expects to publish the final

guidelines before the summer of 2015. The

guidelines would apply from the transposition

date of the MCD on 21 March 2016.

In June 2014, as part of the efforts of the ESAs

to bring further supervisory convergence

across the securities and banking sectors,

the EBA and ESMA published the Joint Com-

mittee final report on guidelines for handling

consumer complaints in the securities and

banking sectors.

Monitoring financial innovation

After issuing a warning on a series of risks de-

riving from buying, holding or trading virtual

currencies, such as bitcoins, the EBA further

investigated whether virtual currencies can

and ought to be regulated. In an Opinion that

the EBA published in June 2014, it assessed

the potential benefits of virtual currencies,

such as faster and cheaper transactions, fi-

nancial inclusion and contributions to eco-