In developing recommendations to improve consumer outcomes in the financial system, the Inquiry has been guided by the objective of ensuring the fair treatment of participants, particularly consumers of financial products and services. The principles underlying this objective are:
- A fair, well-functioning financial system allows consumers to take on risk to make a return. Inevitably, this means consumers will incur gains and losses from market movements.
- Consumers should bear responsibility for their financial decisions. To assist them in doing this:
- Consumers should receive fair treatment from financial firms.
- Consumers should have access to competent, good-quality, customer-focused advice and guidance.
- Information provided to consumers should be accessible, engaging and understandable.
- Financial literacy strategies should be an important element of the consumer framework.
- Product issuers and distributors should take responsibility for the design, targeting and distribution of financial products.
- ASIC should be proactive in its supervision and enforcement to reduce the risk of significant detriment to consumers.
- Consumers should have access to timely and low-cost dispute resolution.