SPIES posing as customers are to be sent to bank branches across Spain, to ensure they are complying with regulations when they offer their products to customers.
Stock market watchdog CNMV stated the ‘mystery shoppers’ will be let loose on banks at various points throughout the year.
Any ‘evidence’ gathered by the ‘spies’ will be used to take disciplinary action against financial institutions found to be violating regulations.
CNMV chief Elvira Rodriguez announced the plans at a presentation of the regulator’s goals for the year.
‘Mystery shopping’ is already widely employed in Britain and France, where people are hired through an agency to carry out quality-control inspections.
In the UK, mystery shoppers have been inspecting banks since 2006, and in extreme cases a FSA banking supervisor is allowed to record conversations between ‘customers’ and employees.
CNMV is also working on a classification system designed to alert customers to the risks of certain financial products on the market and to help them make more informed decisions about their investments.
Thousands of Spaniards have lost their savings after investing in risky shares sold by savings banks during the lowest point of the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, the watchdog continues to lobby for an enhanced level of authority and supervisory capability.