Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct

Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct

Consumer empowerment and market conduct (CEMC) refers to policies and practices designed to promote stable and inclusive financial services via two interconnected pillars:

  • Empowering consumers to make more informed financial decisions via the provision of information, education and effective avenues for redress;
  • Protecting consumers via effective regulation, supervision and enforcement of market conduct by financial services providers (FSPs).

CEMC policies deliver two important and linked outcomes in relation to financial inclusion. First, they increase the potential for FSPs to extend access and choice to groups that are currently underserved or unserved via, for example, new products and services, alternative delivery channels or innovative technologies. Second, they have the potential to improve the quality of products available in the market to ensure that financial inclusion delivers meaningful benefits to consumers. Without this approach, consumers engaging with financial services for the first time are at significant risk of falling prey to poor quality or unsuitable products, resulting in an erosion of income due to unexpected costs and charges, punitive terms and conditions, over-indebtedness, loss of savings, damage to credit history and repossession of goods and assets.

Parallel global trends in CEMC include behavioral economics, consumer protection around big data and cybersecurity, digitally delivered products and services, measuring of the effectiveness of financial literacy and education programs, market conduct and risk-based supervision, and regulatory technology.

Fundamental and emerging topics under CEMC are explored in-depth through AFI’s Consumer Empowerment and Market Conduct Working Group (CEMCWG).

CEMC and gender

CEMC also has relevance for gender policies. Only five percent of AFI members surveyed perceived that they had gender-sensitive consumer protection mechanisms in place. As such, identifying the differential consumer protection needs for women and men can be important for regulators to meet their consumer protection role.

CEMC Maya Declaration commitments by AFI members

Consumer protection and empowerment are key to financial inclusion efforts and its aim of ensuring that everyone is included in their country’s financial sector. This is clearly demonstrated in the number of Maya Declaration targets that are categorized under CEMC – including targets on consumer protection, financial literacy and financial education -, which has the highest number of individual targets among AFI thematic areas at 192 in 2019.

Primary thematic area20122013201420152016201720182019

Consumer empowerment
and market conduct

  • Consumer protection
  • Financial literacy and Financial education
Maya Declaration targets497299102122134142192
In progress2017141216984122
Completion rate63%51%51%50%45%43%40.8%36%


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