The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU (COREPER) approved today (4.4.2014) the agreements reached between the Greek Presidency and the European Parliament on the Payment Accounts Directive (PAD) and on the Regulation on Key Information Documents for Packaged Retail and Insurance Based Investment Products (PRIIPs).
Welcoming the approval of the deal on the Payment Accounts Directive, the President of the ECOFIN Yannis Stournaras said:
''The agreement on the Payment Accounts Directive is an important milestone for the deepening of the internal market and the reinforcement of competition in the financial services to the benefit of consumers. I am very pleased with today’s approval of such an important piece of legislation that offers the possibility to all European citizens to access a bank account, by removing artificial barriers to accessing payment services for those who need them.”
The Payment Accounts Directive addresses fee transparency and comparability of payments made and received via a bank account. From now on, consumers should be provided with information on the fees paid on their account and they should be able to compare offers of different banks in each Member State. Additionally, consumers will be offered a simple procedure to change from one payment account to another at a national level while the Directive also envisages the facilitation of consumers that wish to open an account abroad.
Moreover, the proposed Directive tackles the question of ensuring access to a basic account for all consumers, irrespective of their residency. This way it contributes to the deeper integration of all citizens in the economic life of the Union enabling them to constructively participate in the society they live in and fully reap the benefits of the Single Market.
Regarding the agreement on the Regulation on Key Information Documents for Packaged Retail and Insurance Based Investment Products, the Greek Finance Minister said:
“I warmly welcome today’s approval by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the EU of the agreement reached by the Greek Presidency in its negotiations with the European Parliament on the Key Information Documents for Packaged Retail and Insurance Based Investment Products Regulation. The agreement enhances investor confidence and protection by increasing transparency, raising consumer awareness and facilitating comparison between different packaged retail and insurance-based investment products, in order to assist retail investors with their investment decisions. We expect that this new approach of consumer-friendly rules on standards for information about these products will contribute to restoring confidence of investors in the markets, which we consider essential for ensuring sustainable economic growth in the coming years”.
The main objective of this Regulation is to strengthen consumer protection by increasing transparency offered to retail investors with regard to packaged retail and insurance-based investment products. To this purpose, the Regulation provides for a harmonised structure and content of a Key Information Document a consumer receives as part of pre-contractual information on a packaged retail or an insurance–based investment product. This document promotes cross-sectoral product comparability by including specific key pieces of information in its content, regardless of the manufacturer or seller of the investment product being an investment firm, a credit institution, an insurance company, or any other undertaking.
Furthermore, the Regulation mitigates an important regulatory gap by granting powers to the European authority supervising the insurance sector (EIOPA) to prohibit or restrict certain financial activity as a means to address a significant investor protection concern or a threat to the proper functioning of the financial markets. As a result, EIOPA powers are now fully aligned with those of the other European supervisory authorities, EBA and ESMA.