By Maximilian Clarke

Financial ministers from G20 member states have reached a set of agreements intended to strengthen trust and confidence amongst consumers in the financial sector.

Recognising the widespread mistrust in the world’s financial systems as a result of the ongoing eurozone crisis , the agreed principles form part of a wider set of reforms being implemented to restore consumer confidence among the world’s leading economies.

“Without consumer trust and confidence we could jeopardise the basis for global economic recovery and growth,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at a conference in Paris. “Individual households have had to bear the brunt of the consequences of this financial crisis. It has been a catalyst for developing new rules of the game to address financial governance and risks.”

These three pillars — protection, access, and education — should be integrated in the broader regulatory framework, alongside prudential regulation, governance and competition policies, the OECD said.

The principles were developed by the OECD at the request of G20 finance ministers in February 2011. They were developed in close co-operation with the Financial Stability Board, other international bodies and standard setters, and involved consultations with groups including consumer and industry associations.

Leaders will discuss the principles at the G20 Cannes Summit on 3 and 4 November 2011. “We believe that the G20 should continue putting an emphasis, not only on implementing the principles, but on forthcoming financial education issues,” said Mr Gurría.

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