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Demystify banking – offer simple products

Clear information will empower consumers

Piggy bank filled with money

Mark Hoban wants simpler financial products

Which? welcomes today’s announcement from financial secretary Mark Hoban, recommending a range of ‘simple’ financial products be developed to help demystify the complex financial services market.

The proposals come from an independent steering group set up by the government. The group is chaired by Carol Sergeant and includes Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith.

Easily comparable financial products

The report was published following its consultation with a range of consumer groups and industry experts. The group was specifically commissioned to design a range of straightforward and easily comparable financial products. The report proposes:

  • an easy access savings account
  • a 30 day notice account
  • a simple term life insurance product
  • a ‘Simple Products’ accreditation body to ensure standards are met
  • a ‘kite mark’ badge to help consumers recognise the new, simple range of products.

The full proposals from today’s report will be open for consultation ahead of its final publication in February 2013.

Which? hopes these recommended products will provide clear information for consumers, making it easier for them to compare savings, insurance and other financial products.

Cutting jargon for consumers

Which? believes that consumers should not have to wade through pages of terms and conditions and calls for clear, concise and jargon free information. People should be able to tell exactly what rates and charges they will get, be able to compare products easily, identify similar products simply, and get a fair deal.

Mark Hoban said: ‘The government is committed to putting the consumer back at the heart of the financial system, but we understand that restoring public trust in financial products is not an easy task at the moment.

‘I am pleased to say that ‘simple’ financial products offer a unique opportunity to demonstrate that products can both be easy to understand and meet customers’ most important financial needs.’

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