Plain Speaking Required to Rebuild Trust

by | May 29, 2015

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With only one in five people saying they trust the financial services firms they deal with, a new piece of research reveals a wish list of things that the British public want to change.

Top of the list is cutting out the jargon, the end of fat cat bonuses and staff admitting when they have got it wrong.

The research was carried out by Octopus Investments and looks at what has to change if the financial services sector wants to rebuild trust with the public.


Here are the key findings of the Octopus study:

  1. Be more open and honest: The most common request from consumers is that financial organisations be more honest when they make a mistake (35%). This view was most prevalent in the East of England (45%) and among 45-54 year-olds (41%).
  2. Cut out the jargon: More than a third of respondents want financial firms to talk in ‘plain English’ and to stop using complicated and unnecessary wording that can make saving and investing seem even more bewildering.
  3. Stop the big bonuses: Perhaps a hangover from the global financial crisis, when many were outraged by the large payouts given to troubled banks, 30% of adults said a key to rebuilding trust in financial services companies would be to put an end to exorbitant bonuses for senior executives.
  4. Supply useful information: One in five people (20%) want financial services companies to provide more helpful information that explains all their investment options. This comes in a week when hundreds of thousands of savers have found themselves unable to book free guidance on forthcoming pensions changes.
  5. Give me advice: In addition to having access to information – and that communications are in plain English – 14% of people surveyed would welcome organisations putting them in touch with a financial adviser. The research also suggests that financial advisers have a key role to play in rebuilding consumer trust in financial services. Individuals that use a financial adviser are significantly more likely to trust the broader financial services industry (44%) than those that go it alone and make their own financial decisions (25%).

CEO of Octopus Investments Simon Rogerson said: “The millions of people that benefit from the Government’s radical pensions shake-up are not going to turn into financial experts overnight. With so many options to consider, the financial services industry has a vital role to play to help people make the right decisions at the right time. No one will be surprised that our research shows trust in financial services remains at rock bottom. It is only going to improve if financial firms start setting a more positive example, and they need to start now. At such a critical time for the consumer, we as an industry all have to prove our value.

“The weeks ahead are a great opportunity for investment firms to get to work rebuilding consumer trust. We think it’s time for change in this industry, and we are determined to set the benchmark in terms of putting the customer first and helping them to think differently about financial services.”



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