Formed by former NTUC Income chief executive Tan Kin Lian, the Financial Services Consumers Association (Fisca) is an independent not-for-profit organisation.
Mr Tan, who has come out of retirement to act as president of Fisca, said the new association will focus on researching financial and investment products that are distributed here, and educating the public about saving and investing.
'The key aims of Fisca are to educate consumers on financial matters and to help them select financial products that give good value for their savings and investments,' said Mr Tan.
Fisca's formation comes after thousands of local investors lost millions of dollars from complex structured products that were linked to collapsed United States investment bank Lehman Brothers. These included DBS High Notes 5, Minibonds, Jubilee Linkearner and Pinnacle Notes.
Mr Tan said Fisca's aim will be to drive investor attention away from such glamourous products and encourage them to understand diversification, low-cost investing and the merits of looking for long-term returns.
The association, however, will not guide investors in their selection of stock or in their timing decisions, but instead will provide access to educational resources via its website and through workshops or short courses.
Fisca also plans to produce a white-list of financial products that have low charges, are well diversified and suitable for long-term investment.
'Our strategy is to educate consumers on the practical questions that face them every day like: How much should they save? Where should they put their money? Which are the safe and fair products?' added Mr Tan.
To join Fisca, individuals will have to pay an annual membership fee of $36 that will allow them to access the association's online resources and take part in the programmes.
A recent Fisca survey found that investors wanted a truly independent consumer watchdog that was not funded by any financial institution so as to avoid conflicts of interests.
To maintain its impartiality, Fisca will not seek funding from financial organisations and hopes instead to raise money from like-minded government agencies and philanthropic organisations.
The Fisca president said that the association, now run by a group of 12 volunteers, would need about 100 paying members to remain viable.
He added that Fisca plans to engage graduate volunteers and train them to become Fisca facilitators to help run upcoming financial literacy programmes.
Noting that Singapore already has a number of consumer bodies for investors such as the Consumers Association of Singapore and Securities Investors Association of Singapore, Mr Tan said he hopes to work with all of them in the future.
'We recognise that the needs of consumers are diverse and that the combined effort of all these bodies may still be insufficient to meet these needs,' he added.
FISCA website: www.fisca.sg