Master of Laws, LL.M. Kirsi Leivo begins today as the Director General of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA). Kirsi Leivo succeeds Juhani Jokinen, who retired from the post. A Director General’s terms is five years.
The FCCA promotes the interests of consumers and the national economy. It ensures that the markets function properly by monitoring compliance with laws on competition regulations and consumer protection. The FCCA also makes proposals to do away with regulations that restrict competition, to make public procurement more transparent, and to develop consumer protection.
“We channel our limited resources where they serve taxpayers’ interests most. We will continue to take a firm hand against cartels and any other illegal activity. Sanctions imposed by FCCA must be sharpened to have a preventative effect on any illegal activity. Opening up markets and competitive tendering must be planned carefully on the basis of impact assessment in order for consumers to benefit from competition between businesses. The fine motor of the market economy, namely that of businesses’ innate desire to make a profit, must be harnessed for the benefit of consumers and the national economy. This is a topical matter in terms of, for example, social welfare and health care reform, taxi transport benefits provided by Kela and the debate on electronic identification,” says the FCCA’s Director General Kirsi Leivo.
She highlights consumers’ overindebtedness as a major concern. The current regulation concerning the provision of credit is not sufficient to keep in check the problems caused to consumers especially by payday loans. Increasing consumer indebtedness is also detrimental to the national economy. Problem gambling is one of the many factors that contribute to overindebtedness. Leivo thinks that the justification for a monopoly on games of chance, the marketing of games of chance and the positioning of machines should be reassessed.
Leivo considers it important that the FCCA’s work has an impact and becomes more recognised. This requires closer cooperation and dialogue between stakeholder groups. The personnel is in a key role, too.
“The FCCA’s duties are complex and require a high level of professionalism. Whether we can perform our work efficiently and serve society and the taxpayers well depends ultimately on the expertise, experience and wellbeing of our personnel.”
The FCCA’s personnel will increase in the beginning of 2019, when Consumer Advisory Services, mediating disputes between consumers and businesses, will be transferred from local register offices of the FCCA. Leivo sees Consumer Advisory Services as an excellent supplement to the FCCA’s existing Consumer Ombudsman’s duty. In future, the FCCA will be able to help consumers in more different ways by offering both individual advice and tackling issues affecting larger groups of consumers.
Kirsi Leivo, b. 1968
Master of Laws at the University of Helsinki in 1992.
Master in European Community Law (LL.M.) in the College of Europe in 1994 and Aalto Executive MBA programme in 2011.
Began as Director of the Finnish Competition Authority in 2001. Worked before that in a lawyer’s office and the European Commission’s legal department.
More information: Kirsi Leivo, Director General, tel. +358 (0)29 505 3351
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