Consumer protection legislation and institutional arrangements differ across countries and there is no single or superior arrangement. The appropriate institutional form depends on market circumstances, resource availability and the level of market sophistication. In the financial services sector, it is generally accepted that general consumer protection measures and consumer education are not sufficient, and that dedicated measures and regulatory institutions are required to address the complexity of the sector. A number of international guidelines and diagnostic tools have been developed to assist policy makers and regulators to design consumer protection frameworks that are appropriate for the financial services industry. In most SADC Member States, the minimum legislative and institutional requirements for consumer protection are in place. Specifically, all countries have enacted some form of legislation to protect consumers in the financial services sector and ten of the fifteen SADC countries now have a stand-alone consumer protection law. Nine SADC countries have established some form of consumer protection agency, either on its own, or combined with the competition authority.
This report summarises the main findings from the situational analysis and country consultation conducted as part of this study, and describes the basis and purpose of the proposed Consumer Protection Assessment Framework.