Panel calls for simple messages for consumers to improve financial health

27 June 2012

Speaking today to industry and consumer representatives, 1Adam Phillips, Financial Services Consumer Panel Chair, has called for the financial services industry to focus more on the needs of consumers.

The Panel is calling for a programme of simple, straightforward messages to help get consumers thinking about their protection and savings needs. Industry has a key role to play in providing sound, lower cost advice and straightforward outcome products to meet the needs of consumers. The Panel is concerned that millions of consumers lack appropriate savings and protection provision. While some 12 million people employed in the private sector can expect no pension beyond the state minimum. Millions more consumers do not realise how much they will need to save to ensure a decent income in retirement. These individuals need access to advice that tells them what they need to know and products that deliver the right outcome.

Adam Phillips, Consumer Panel Chair commented:

"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 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."

Notes to editors

  1. Adam Phillips was speaking at the Westminster and City Advice Gap Conference. The full text of his speech is available.
  2. The Consumer Panel's advice position paper is available.
  3. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FSA on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA's performance in meeting its objectives.
  4. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available on our website.
  5. Photographs and biographical details for Adam Phillips.
  6. Panel members are appointed to serve a maximum of two terms of three years.