Which?, the consumer magazine, has issued a damning indictment on the Financial services Authority (FSA) by saying that five years after its inception it is failing to protect consumers.
Which? says that the FSA "must try harder".
Which? roundly condemns the FSA's lack of action to name and shame those who fail to follow advertising rules, or perform poorly in mystery shopping exercises.
Louise Hanson, head of campaigns at Which?, said:
"The FSA has had a busy five years and yet many of their major challenges in the retail financial area have left consumers exposed.
We believe they have not been open and transparent enough in tackling detriment or in robustly challenging the industry
Which? isn't calling for more legislation or regulation: what we need is better regulation and for the FSA to use its existing powers and tools more flexibly and more imaginatively to ensure proper enforcement and an effective deterrent for industry."
The FSA states that it is legally prevented from naming and shaming firms, without the matter being dealt with by its formal disciplinary process.