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Quick guide set to replace key features

Key features documents are to be replaced with a document highlighting the benefits and risks of investment products.

The document, dubbed the quick guide, will form one of the main pillars of a wider disclosure package for investment products which will eventually replace the key features regime.

The FSA proposes that the guide will be produced as a separate marketing document, no more than two pages long, and presented at the top of any marketing pack given to customers.

It will be presented in a tabular format and contain a set of mandatory numbered questions covering the benefits and risks of products, with bulleted answers. Firms will have to produce their own answers to fit their individual offering.

The FSA says it hopes to introduce the document in 2007 to coincide with the implementation of the EU markets in financial instruments directive and the simplification of the conduct of business rule sourcebook. It promises to roll out the wider disclosure package and the quick guide at the same time to minimise disruption and cost.

Director of retail policy Dan Waters says: “In the same way as the existing key facts documents for mortgage and general insurance products, it will enable people to evaluate much better whether a particular product would be right for them.”

Aifa deputy director general Fay Goddard says: “It is a good idea but needs tweaking to make it more adviser-friendly. The examples I have seen do not appear to acknowledge the role of the adviser in the chain and assume that the product is being sold direct to the consumer. I am also concerned this will be yet more paperwork that consumers will not read.”

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