Information is power

28 July 2004 Angelo Coppola

(28.7.04) The FSB launched their consumer protection initiative on Tuesday.

Deputy minister of Finance Jabu Moleketi says that lack of access to the banking system by the majority, coupled with the criminal problems, compound the problem between the haves and the have-nots.

The best protection for consumers is information, which is packaged taking the developmental challenges that face the country. 

Jargon in English is generally made available to consumers only once the transaction has been completed. This is not acceptable says Moleketi.

On the registration process and the speed with which intermediaries are registering and getting licenced, Moleketi: “Don’t start queuing on the 29th and start complaining – we as South Africans are well known for this.” He says that consumers should find a reputable financial advisor. 

“The FSB won’t be able to monitor each and every transaction, so consumers should deal with licenced intermediaries.”

He had a go a pyramid schemes, micro lenders and those parties that hold money and don’t pay it over to insurers.

“Consumer education is a partnership – the value and majority of the responsibility rests with the private sector, as they are the group that develop the products. It’s the responsibility of the financial services industry to protect consumers.

Olivia Davids – head of the consumer protection side of the FSB business - says that they function well as a partnership to provide consumer protection, to maximize the resources available.

Part of the launch event included a new brand, which according to Davids, recognizes the input from all the players.

The launch is important as it signifies the fact that the FSB will continue to more actively  promote the consumer education initiative.

There are numerous themes in the initiative ranging from debt management to awareness and caution when buying financial products and what recourse measures there are.

Davids: “The FSB wants to focus on caution when consumers decide to purchase products.”

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