Sants: the City needs to take FSA seriously

FSA CHIEF Hector Sants has accused banks of not getting to grips with their customer service failings yesterday, saying that the City is simply expecting its new regulator to solve the problem.

Sants’ criticism was echoed by Margaret Cole, who will head up the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) when it is created to replace part of the FSA next year.

She characterised the City’s record on customer service as “a series of bitter experiences” for consumers and said: “The culture of treating customers fairly should come from the top. We would like to see a higher degree of engagement at a senior level.”

Sants called for a “three-cornered bargain between society, us and the firms” to improve customers’ experience and said it would be a mistake to hold regulators wholly responsible for any changes.

He added that the FSA would use its regular meetings with banks’ senior management to try and persuade them to “engage” on the issue.

But both Cole and Sants denied they are taking a confrontational approach, saying instead that it was an “open and honest discussion”.