Federal government examines use of test customers in banks

Federal government examines use of test customers in banks

A spokesman for the federal ministry of finance confirmed on saturday a report in the newspapers of the WAZ media group, according to which the federal government is examining a corresponding legal regulation, after an earlier attempt failed due to data protection concerns. A corresponding authorization should be inserted into the securities trading act,

The aim is to find out whether the banks are really fulfilling their obligations, said the spokesman. Since 1. Since january 1, 2010, for example, it has been compulsory to record in writing what the advisor promises in the case of investments in securities. They must be signed by the consultant and handed over to the clients.

This can be an important document in disputes about possible misadvice. But despite the legal obligation, sometimes no record is kept at all or it does not contain the essential points, criticized the verbraucherzentrale bundesverband (vzbv) a few months ago. Stiftung warentest found fault with inadequate advice on consumer loans. Banks had failed to hand out mandatory information sheets, for example, which must provide an overview of the essential conditions of the offer, and had thus violated the law.

Consumer users get their information from test customers who pretend to be interested in a financial investment or loan. If the federal government has its way, then the financial supervisory authority bafin could also soon use such undercover inspectors. However: there is still considerable need for clarification of possible constitutional concerns, as the spokesman for the finance ministry admitted. "The questions are carefully examined."This is about data protection and the fundamental rights of bank advisors.

According to the spokesman, it is conceivable that bafin will commission external service providers to test compliance with legal requirements in advisory meetings. If deceased, fines threatened.

According to the WAZ report, the consumer protection ministry, which was also involved, stated: "we hope that we will succeed in launching the project as soon as possible." It could make an important contribution to better investment advice. Consumer advocates buried the project: the planned use of test customers is an important instrument, said vzbv financial expert frank-christian pauli.

The federal government had already tackled the project once at the end of 2010, but at that time it did not consider a change in the law to be necessary. According to the WAZ, the federal data protection commissioner then raised concerns about investigations without a legal basis, whereupon preparations were halted again.

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