Photo by Lorena Velasco via Communication for Development Ltd. Photo by Lorena Velasco via Communication for Development Ltd.
Building a good mix of market monitoring tools

Market monitoring tools are built based on the experience of market conduct supervisors across the globe. Each tool includes guidance that describes its characteristics and benefits, the opportunities it may create, how to use it, and its limitations. Some supporting materials are also available for download.

There are three key ways to explore the various tools:

1. Identify your objective and choose a tool  [Jump down]
Start by identifying an objective in the chart below, and then feel free to explore the different tools that can help you advance your objective.

2. Go directly to a tool of interest  [Jump down]
Review summaries of each tool and then visit the full page for more information and download it for later use.

3. Review the accompanying country cases  [continue to Country Cases]
There are six country cases that describe how individual countries have implemented various market monitoring tools—and why. Each case includes background about the country for added context.


Identify your objective and choose a tool

Individual tools are mostly quantitative (e.g., analysis of regulatory reports, analysis of phone survey data) or mostly qualitative (e.g., industry engagement, mystery shopping). They can be used for several objectives. For example, some are more commonly used to discover consumer issues (e.g., analysis of social media data, analysis of consumer contracts) or to gain a deeper understanding of sales and marketing issues already identified (e.g., thematic reviews, analysis of complaints data). However, many tools fulfill multiple objectives. If it is not clear which tool is most useful in your context, start by identifying an objective in the chart below, and then feel free to explore the different tools that can help you advance your objective.

Options of market monitoring tools


Go directly to a tool of interest

Note that the tools do not fall into internationally defined labels or categories. CGAP uses its own terms for presentation purposes only, recognizing that labels are not perfect. For instance, some MCSs do not classify thematic reviews and industry engagement as market monitoring tools. It is crucial to clearly identify your supervisory objectives and understand how each tool can advance your objectives. If you already know the objective and tool you need, you can go directly to the relevant tool. The guidance for each tool will help with the process.

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The objective of regulatory reporting is to periodically provide market conduct supervisors (MCSs) with crucial standardized data which allows them to fulfill their supervisory mandate and carry out institution- and market focused supervisory activities. Regulatory reporting is the most important source of information about a regulated market for an MCS because it is the most comprehensive. 

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Complaints data are often the first type of data a market conduct supervisor (MCS) uses to build up its market monitoring function. An MCS usually starts with analysis of aggregated complaints data obtained from reports financial services providers (FSPs) are required to submit on the number, nature, severity, and resolution of complaints received. The MCS may also gather information from other teams within its authority, other regulators, consumer associations, and ombudspersons that handle consumer complaints or disputes.

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Social media monitoring (or “social listening)” is an unstructured data collection tool, which specifically focuses on consumer-generated data. It allows MCSs to listen to the collective voice of consumers by gathering insights into their experiences and issues with financial services and products. The tool monitors what consumers post on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Taringa!, Qzone, and VKontakte (VK), as well as on digital forums, blogs, and websites. 

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Members of the Consumers International network have identified unfair contract terms and conditions as the third most important challenge for financial consumers in a 2021 survey covering 32 low- and middle-income countries. Market conduct supervisors (MCSs) analyze the content of standard-form contracts and actual contracts used to govern commercial relationships between financial services providers (FSPs) and consumers

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Mystery shopping aims to observe the actual behavior of individual financial services provider (FSP) staff members or of third parties acting on their behalf during a true customer/FSP interaction. To use this tool, a market conduct supervisor (MCS) sends a trained consumer or supervisory staff member to an FSP access point to simulate a typical customer interaction. This “mystery shopper” then reports on their experience in a detailed and standardized manner. 

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Industry engagement consists of direct interaction and dialogue between market conduct supervisors (MCSs) and financial services providers (FSPs) or industry associations. It is a key tool MCSs use to gather intelligence on market developments, understand emerging business practices and consumer risks, and learn about risks and opportunities in the broader FSP operating environment that subsequently may impact consumers. 

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Thematic reviews are in-depth analyses of limited topics—or themes—which can provide invaluable insights for market conduct supervisors (MCSs). Various countries sometimes refer to thematic reviews as horizontal analyses, thematic analyses, industry reviews, cross-sector reviews, cross-firm reviews, and market studies.

The most common objective of a thematic review is to identify and investigate one or more consumer risk(s) across a market or subsector, including how varying practices within financial services providers (FSPs) may impact a risk.  

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Demand-side phone surveys reveal information about customers’ experiences with financial services, as well as noncustomers’ reasons for not using financial services at either the household or the individual level. Market conduct supervisors (MCSs) can use this type of information to complement financial services provider (FSP) data, such as regulatory reporting, and to get deeper insights into issues identified by other means.  

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Review the accompanying country cases >>

Click through to the next tab in the toolkit to explore the six country cases.