The ruling Popular Party and the main opposition Socialist Party have reached an agreement on how to resolve the problem of unsophisticated investors who have lost their savings as a result of being sold complex financial products such as preferred shares by banks without being aware of the risks involved.
The agreement calls for the creation of a committee to be chaired by Elvira Rodríguez, the head of the National Securities Commission (CNMV), with her deputy to be named by the Bank of Spain. It will also include officials from the general secretariats of health and consumption and treasury and financial policy.
The committee will draw up a profile of the type of client who qualifies to have their cases put to arbitration with a view to them recovering all of the funds they deposited.
Under the terms of the bailout Spain received from its European partners to clean up the balance sheets of troubled banks, holders of preferred shares - a financial product that usually pays a return that is higher than term deposits, but unlike bank deposits may not be fully redeemable – took heavy losses.
The committee will initially revise the cases of preferred shares sold to the customers of the nationalized banks CatalunyaBanc, Novagalicia and Bankia and those that have received state aid.
The committee will also be subject to parliamentary control and will file monthly reports on its activities.
The government last year passed legislation restricting the sale of complex products to unsophisticated investors. The powers of the CNMV were also enhanced to allow for greater protection of retail investors.