Consumers given financial services protection
Legislation passed by MPs in the House of Assembly on Friday is expected to protect financial services customers.
The Bermuda Monetary Authority Amendment Act 2022 will mean that the BMA’s principal 1969 Act will include among its main objectives an aim to promote consumer protection through the oversight of business by financial institutions.
David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, said: “In 2020, the authority undertook an internal review of its objectives and statutory mandate.
“As a result of this review, the authority submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance regarding a risk-based regulatory framework to enhance consumer protection for users of regulated financial services in Bermuda.
“Since then, there has been ongoing work to progress matters in this area.”
MPs heard that the 1969 Act did not provide the authority with a specific power to enforce consumer protection.
Mr Burt said: “However, certain regulatory acts include elements of conduct requirements, which are then addressed in sector-specific codes of conduct or practice issued by the authority.”
He added: “The authority takes the view that its objects ought to be amended to specifically include an object that covers matters related to the promotion and protection of consumers using products and services provided by financial institutions, to reinforce its work to allow for greater focus on fair outcomes for customers.”
The Premier told MPs: “The authority does not seek to resolve individual complaints, but will ensure that financial services institutions have the appropriate policies, processes and internal structures to treat their customers fairly as well as a robust complaint-handling mechanism.“
Jarion Richardson, the Opposition Whip, said: “It is something that Bermuda should have done some time ago, to be frank.
“But I’m very glad to see that we’re moving in this direction and the Opposition wholeheartedly supports this move.”