The introduction of SEPA has made a cross-border, single market a reality for consumers - just a decade after the single currency itself came into being. So European policymakers are now focussing on opening retail markets. But that requires consumers to have approriate financial education, suppliers to make effective disclosure and for intermediaries to accept a proper duty of care to their retail clients. The potential for mobile phone payments brings cross-border shopping even closer for many consumers and the Consumer Credit Directive should go some way to opening up cross-border credit intermediation. MiFID and UCITS have already produced cross-border investment products that are potentially substitutes for each other and insurance products are likely to follow so Packaged Retail Investment Products (PRIPs) will be spotlighted.
So there are new opportunities for the bold consumer - but policy-makers must ensure that there is effective and proportionate redress to avoid the dream going sour.We will monitor developments in this diverse field and would welcome comments about additional policy areas that should be included.