What does Finanstilsynet do for consumers?
Published: 8 November 2022
Last updated: 11 November 2022
Pursuant to the Financial Supervision Act, Finanstilsynet is required to ensure that all institutions it supervises attend to consumer interests and rights in their activities.
Many of these rights are regulated in separate Acts, such as the Financial Contracts Act, the Insurance Contracts Act, the Securities Trading Act, the Real Estate Broking Act et al. This regulatory framework is complemented by requirements set by Finanstilsynet in guidelines and circulars. Finanstilsynet examines whether the institutions comply with the laws and regulations that apply to their operations, including the requirements concerning strong consumer protection. An important element of this is good information and advice.
However, Finanstilsynet’s efforts to promote consumer protection are not limited to following up the requirements concerning adequate and reliable information and advice on the products sold by the institutions. It is of key interest to customers of banks, insurers and other institutions that the institutions are financially sound. When you, as a customer, wish to take out a loan in a bank, make withdrawals or settle an insurance claim, it is vital that the institution has the required funds to pay for its obligations. Other tasks performed by Finanstilsynet are also of importance to consumers. This includes overseeing that the financial sector is characterised by good market behaviour and has a robust infrastructure.
The work on consumer protection is thus part of Finanstilsynet’s overall responsibilities. Finanstilsynet seeks to ensure that as many people as possible will have the necessary basic knowledge to be able to choose the right product and supplier. Finanstilsynet shall also ensure that the institutions that sell the products conduct their business in a responsible manner, which means that the customer interests are their first priority.
Finanstilsynet’s supervision of the institutions takes place through regular reporting by the institutions and through on-site inspections. Finanstilsynet prepares final reports (comments) after all on-site inspections. The inspection reports are public and are published on Finanstilsynet's website.
What can Finanstilsynet not do?
Finanstilsynet cannot handle complaints from customers of various institutions. The authorities are of the opinion that the same agency should not both supervise financial institutions and handle complaints. Consequently, separate complaints bodies for consumers have been established to ensure that customers' interests are properly safeguarded. These are extra-judicial schemes intended to make it easier and cheaper for customers to have their complaint processed. In addition, anyone can bring cases to court.
Finansportalen (the Finance Porta) is a service from the Norwegian Consumer Council that compares banking services, insurance products, investment alternatives and international money transfers offered by various market participants. All institutions providing services in Norway enter their prices in Finansportalen. Finansportalen is free to use, and anyone can search for information there.
- Finansportalen (in Norwegian only)
Finanstilsynet maintains a registry of all Norwegian institutions authorised to provide financial services. It is important that you, as a consumer, check this registry if you are in doubt as to whether an institution you are in contact is licensed to provide the relevant services. On Finanstilsynet’s website, you will also find registries of institutions that may provide services directly from other EEA states or are licensed to establish branches in Norway from an EEA state.