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20 May 2014

BaFin/König: Consumer protection and regulation

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BaFin President Dr Elke König opened the supervisory authority’s annual press conference with a speech in which she explained that, for BaFin, the ideal consumers are responsible consumers who confidently and independently take their own investment decisions.

However, she said that consumers tend to be at a disadvantage to providers. This is why the government must protect consumers in a social market economy by creating an appropriate regulatory framework.

Such protection should not take the form of "spoon-feeding": "We cannot cocoon consumers and ring-fence or prohibit all offerings that are even slightly risky", said Dr König. Anyone who takes away private investors’ rights to invest their money in risky assets encroaches on their individual freedom to an unreasonable degree and harms competition. "We have to keep this in mind, even when we are discussing how to regulate the unregulated capital market", said BaFin’s president. The question to ask is: "What deposit-taking activities should have to be authorised in future and what potential loopholes should we close so as to protect investors against unpredictable losses". However, extending the prospectus requirement, the clarity of information and how financial investments are marketed should also be considered.

Press release

Full speech (in German)

© BaFin

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