In December, the OECD prepared a strategic response to the global financial crisis. Their suggestions for crisis management highlight the importance of environment-friendly solutions and warn nations against resorting to protectionism to combat recession. The strategy includes a variety of ways to promote the economy, competition, corporate governance and sustainable long-term growth - from recommendations to supervision. Strengthening the consumer's position is one way to guide the economy towards clearer waters.
At the consumer level, what is needed is more information: consumers must, in the future, be offered more and better-quality information on things such as loans to help them make sensible decisions regarding their finances. Financial institutions and intermediate authorities are seen to have a central role in consumer protection and this role will come under closer scrutiny, amongst other things, regarding conflicts of interest in the provision of information.
According to the OECD, improved economic education must be complemented by regulation and more solid and widely accepted practices pertaining to marketing. As one of the first measures under the strategic response, the organisation plans to prepare a report on matters which consumer authorities should consider in developing ways to improve consumer awareness and knowledge of financial affairs and loans. Increasing consumer knowledge is seen as one safeguard against future recurrences of the economic events witnessed in the past months. For instance, the perspective of behavioural sciences and the complex nature of financial products should be emphasised in the search for ways to facilitate better decision-making by consumers.