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Which?: Banks rely too much on detailed disclosure documents


Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith has called on the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure banks do not think that because they have provided customers with lengthy disclosure documents, they have provided appropriate advice.

Speaking at the British Bankers’ Association annual conference in London last week, Vicary-Smith said bombarding customers with key facts illustrations and product literature is not the same as giving adequate advice, citing the example of an unnamed bank which provides 165 pages of information to customers who take out one of its packaged current accounts.

He called for the FCA tackle the issue when it takes over the regulatory duties of the FSA.

He said: “I want to see less reliance on the idea that disclosure of information means giving appropriate advice. Asking you guys to send out hundreds of pages that nobody really reads does not help you and does not help the customer. I want to focus on the outcome for the customer and what they understand and the regulator enforcing that.

“That is a big change of culture. My worry is whether the FCA has got enough good quality people to implement all of that in a sensible way.”

Vicary-Smith added sales-based incentive schemes are damaging the relationship between banks and their customers.

He said: “The incentivisation schemes are corroding the relationship.”


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  1. These ‘disclosure’ documents mean diddly squat to the public and are used to hide behind, just like reason why/not letters. You need moral people to sell, and these don’t enter banking as a career any more, or have been forced out already.

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