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Public mystified by disclosure details, says Pru’s life chief

Disclosure documents designed to protect consumers often leave them more confused, Prudential managing director of UK life and pensions Gary Shaughnessy has claimed.

He said Pru’s research found that much of what it is obliged to state in its literature to comply with regulation does not help consumers understand products better.

He said: “Most of the things we are required to put into communications by regulation, consumers find completely mystifying. It detracts from the information that is important. Communications should be based on outcomes from consumer research rather than lines you can point to and say, well, we did tell them.”

Financial Inclusion Centre director Mick McAteer believes the key facts about a product should be limited to a two-page document.

He said: “Information disclosure on its own or done badly can hinder effective decision making and add to regulatory costs.

“I have a theory that countless pages of documentation actually protects the rogues by giving them something to hide behind. It does not matter what you have in the small print, it is what the man on the street understands by reading the document.”

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