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Consumers need simpler financial messages

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The financial services industry has been called on to focus more on the needs of the consumer by the chair of the Financial Services Consumer Panel.

Speaking today to industry and consumer representatives, chair of the FCSP, Adam Phillips insisted that there is a need for simple messages for consumers to help improve the nation’s financial health.

The panel wants the financial industry to provide sound, cheaper advice and simpler products to meet the needs of consumers, and to get the nation to start thinking about their protection and savings needs.

Adam Phillips said: “There is a huge unmet need for appropriate financial products, with the Pensions Commission estimating that there are at least 12 million people working in the private sector without any pension provision above the state minimum.

“There are worrying shortfalls in the take up of savings and protection leaving consumers running substantial risks of severe financial hardship.”

The Panel is concerned over the millions of consumers who lack appropriate savings and protection provision. It is estimated that some 12m people employed in the private sector can expect no pension beyond the state minimum.

Millions more consumers also do not realise how much they will need to save to make sure that they have a decent income in retirement. The Panel insist that consumers need access to advice that tells them what they need to know and products that deliver the right outcome.

Phillips continued: “The industry needs to develop simple messages similar to the food industry’s “five portions of fruit and vegetables a day”. These need to cover managing short and long term saving, credit and protection with simple memorable rules of thumb.

“Straightforward outcome products which are good value and likely to meet the expectations they create are essential if we are to ensure more people have adequate protection against financial uncertainty and savings for retirement.”

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