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02 August 2012

Steering group publishes recommendations for ‘simple’ financial products

An independent steering group set up by the Government has today published initial recommendations on the development of ‘simple’ financial products that will better enable consumers to navigate the financial services market, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mark Hoban, announced.

The independent steering group, chaired by Carol Sergeant (formerly of Lloyds Banking Group) has published its initial report following consultation with a wide range of consumer groups and industry representatives. Formed following a Government consultation in 2010, the group was tasked with devising a suite of financial products which would help consumers to better engage with what can be a complex financial services market.

In the report published today, it proposes:

The full set of initial recommendations set out in the report will now be open for further consultation, ahead of publication of the final report in February 2013.
Mr 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.”

Ms Sergeant said:

“When consumers arrive at the financial marketplace there should be simple processes and products available to allow them to make an informed and straightforward decision. I would like to thank all the participants from consumer groups and industry who have engaged with the project so far, and look forward to the next stage in this process.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The initial report is available in full online in our Independent Reviews section 
  2. The Government announced in July 2010 that it wanted to see a new range of simple financial products launched. These would help people take responsibility for their finances, and make better informed choices.
  3. ‘Simple Financial Products: a consultation’ was published on 14 December 2010 and closed on 25 March 2011. The consultation set out the Government’s initial suggestions for how a new range of simple products could be developed.
  4. On 20 October 2011 the Government published a summary of responses to the consultation, and launched the Simple Products Steering Group, chaired by Carol Sergeant. The summary of responses to the consultation is available online in our consultation section under: Simple financial products consultation
  5. The Steering Group is now inviting a further consultation on the initial proposals outlined today, which will close on 12 October 2012. A report with final recommendations will be published in February 2013.
  6. Ms Sergeant has held a range of senior positions in both the public and private sector, including as Head of Major Bank’s Supervision at the Bank of England, Managing Director at the Financial Services Authority and Chief Risk Officer at Lloyds Banking Group.
  7. The Steering Group is comprised of:
    • Carol Sergeant – Chair
    • Angela Knight (CEO, British Bankers’ Association)
    • Otto Thoresen (CEO, Association of British Insurers)
    • Adrian Coles (CEO, Building Societies Association)
    • Tony Hobman (CEO, Money Advice Service)
    • Peter Vicary-Smith (CEO, Which?)
    • Christine Farnish (Chair, Consumer Focus)
  8. HM Treasury and the Financial Services Authority are observers on the Group.

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