in payments sector
NEW REPORT examining the best approaches to
ensure effective consumer representation in the
governance of financial services was released in the
autumn. Work on the report was led by consumer specialist
Carol Brennan, Director of the Consumer Dispute Resolution
Centre at QMU.
The research, commissioned by Bacs Payment Schemes
Limited (Bacs) – the organisation behind Direct Debit, Bacs Direct
Credit and the Current Account Switch Service - identifies ways
in which consumer representation can be improved across the
financial industry. The aim is to ensure that the needs of end-users
are put at the centre of discussions on how to develop, deliver
and monitor the effectiveness of new products and services.
The publication also highlights that principles in relation to
culture, people and processes underpin effective consumer
representation, whilst it is suggested that a mix of both
representatives on boards, and a collective forum, can provide
an influential and effective voice for consumers.
The findings conclude that strong consumer representation
should be viewed as integral to an organisation’s strategy and
that when consumers are put at the heart of corporate decision
making, better outcomes are achieved.
Anne Pieckielon, Bacs’ Director of Product and Strategy, said:
“At Bacs we are big believers that only by putting the needs of
consumers front and centre, when it comes to decision making,
can the best outcomes be achieved for all.
“By commissioning this research we hope that our work can
help inform governance decisions across the industry, spark
further discussion about what best practice looks like and help
set a benchmark for true consumer engagement at the highest
levels within organisations."
Carol Brennan concluded: “The financial services market
is complex, and power is traditionally weighted in favour
of providers. This asymmetry of power compromises the
effectiveness of competition and can lead to consumer detriment.
Effective consumer representation can help rebalance the
asymmetry of power in the market, bring clarity about the issues
faced by consumers and help prioritise strategies to address
problems and forward plan effectively.
“Our research confirms that consumers should be put at the
heart of all decision making and that consumer representation
should be viewed as part of a company’s broader consumer
engagement, communication and advocacy strategy. Customer
values should be at the very core of service providers’ culture
and strategy to ensure future sustainability. ❒
Resolution Centre (CDRC) is a centre
of excellence in consumer dispute
resolution and consumer policy.
research, and consultancy services to
business, government, and third sector
organisations in the UK and across the
The Centre’s particular expertise concerns
dispute resolution between individuals and
large organisations, for example, between
consumers and businesses and between
citizens and the government. Its focus is on
understanding consumer perspectives on
dispute resolution and developing the idea
that users should be at the heart of dispute
resolution systems and processes.
The Centre also has broader interests in
relation to consumer policy, and issues such
as regulation, representation, consumer
advice, and enforcement.
If you would like to discuss your
organisation’s research or continuing
professional development needs contact
Carol Brennan on E: email@example.com
QMYOU / Research & Knowledge Exchange