Lunt, Peter, Livingstone, Sonia, Kelay, Tanika and Miller, Laura
Approaches to risk and consumer policy in financial service regulation in the UK.
Forum : Qualitative Social Research, 7
The financial service and communication sectors in the UK have been subject to radical re-organisation, involving the formation of sector-wide regulatory bodies (FSA and Ofcom) with wide-ranging powers and statutory obligations. Although both have responsibilities for assessment and management of risk, their remits go beyond traditional approaches to regulation. Hence, although primarily oriented to economic policy, both regulators address questions of corporate responsibility, balance of stakeholder interests, the public good, consumer representation and public participation. Accordingly, they are undertaking a range of activities, including consumer education and research, public consultation and the involvement of stakeholders in policy review. Focusing on the case of financial services, this paper presents an analysis of two early speeches by FSA directors, one focused on the approach to risk adopted by the regulator and the other on consumer policy. The second part of the paper considers the conceptual issues regarding different modes of risk management in the new regulators, requiring an account of the various levels and forms of involvement by stakeholders and publics in the identification and management of risk. It follows on from the analysis of the speeches to examine the relationship between risk and consumer policy in the practices of the FSA.
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