Treasury calls for industry action on simple products

Sajid Javid 480

Treasury economic secretary Sajid Javid is calling on the financial services industry to act on simple products more than four months after the publication of the Sergeant Review.

In 2011, the Government asked former FSA director and Lloyds Banking Group director of risk Carol Sergeant to chair an independent simple financial products steering group.

The group was tasked with developing a suite of financial products which are straightforward and easy to understand.

The final report, published on 13 March this year, recommended products with standardised features, simplified terms and conditions and pricing transparency, as well as regular information and product updates.

In a written parliamentary question, published yesterday, Conservative MP for Glamorgan Alun Cairns asked what progress had been made on developing simple products.

Responding for the Government, Javid said: “This is an opportunity for industry to proactively take steps to improve competition in savings and protection, by helping consumers to compare products and actively engage with the market as well as building consumer trust in the industry.

“The Government fully expects that the financial services industry will recognise these benefits, and look to industry to make the recommendations in the final Sergeant Review report a reality.”

The Sergeant Review recommended the first set of simple financial products developed will be an easy access savings account; a 30-day notice savings account; a regular savings account; and a fixed term life insurance product. It said a whole of life insurance product should be added next.

The Association of British Insurers will lead further work on a simple income replacement product and report back in six months.

The Treasury will carry out a progress review of simple products in March 2014, 12 months after the final report.