Trading Standards Institute (TSI) approves financial services industry’s ‘Simple Product’ framework
The Association of British Insurers, British Bankers’ Association and the Building Societies Association today announce approval of the ‘Simple Product’ framework. This is in line with the recommendations set out in the Sergeant Review (March 2013) which made the case for Simple Products - a suite of financial services products with standardised features that are easy to understand and transparent.
The framework is approved independently by Trading Standards Institute (TSI) Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) board, giving customers a clear indication that products sold with the TSI Approved Code logo can be trusted. CCAS aims to reduce consumer detriment by developing a stringent series of guidelines businesses voluntarily adhere to. Businesses are only approved if they clearly demonstrate that they are following code guidelines.
The following independent consumer bodies have agreed to sit on the Simple Product Steering Board; Citizens Advice, Financial Services Consumer Panel, Macmillan, and the Money Advice Service. The Steering Board will oversee the standard, framework and accreditation of a suite of Simple Products. These products should offer consumers a straightforward benchmark that gives them the confidence to make good decisions. Product providers will be able to apply for accreditation in Q1 2015.
Baroness Christine Crawley of Edgbaston, chair of the CCAS board, said:
"We are delighted to welcome the Simple Products Codes of Practice into our family of Consumer Codes, a hallmark for excellent consumer protection and customer service. Not only does the Simple Products Code help financial institutions distinguish their products from those of competitors, it gives peace of mind to consumers that if something goes wrong, they will be dealt with fairly and transparently by businesses under the terms of the scheme."
"We want consumers to further recognise that a business showing an approved code logo is a business they can trust."
Helen White, Head of Protection at the ABI said:
“The Sergeant Review showed that some customers would benefit from simple and easy to understand savings and protection products that meet their essential needs and that they can trust. Receiving the TSI CCAS approval for our Simple Product Framework gives consumers confidence that they can purchase a financial services product in a straightforward way.”
Peter Tyler, Policy Director at the BBA, said:
“Customers expect and deserve financial products that do exactly what they say on the tin. A suite of Simple Products will make it easier than ever before to understand whether a saving or insurance product is right for you. TSI accreditation of our simple products framework provides independent assurance that simple products are fit for purpose.”
Brian Morris, Head of Savings Policy at the Building Societies Association, said:
"The building society sector has always supported the concept of simplicity and transparency. The approval of the Simple Financial Product (SFP) framework is welcome and the TSI approved code logo will act as a helpful indicator to those looking for simple, but effective financial products. It is a good fit with the approach that building societies currently offer and we look forward to participating in the full roll out of the SFP framework in the New Year".
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Notes for Editors
Picture from left to right: Helen White, Head of Protection at the ABI and Baroness Christine Crawley of Edgbaston, chair of the CCAS board.
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2.CCAS (Consumer Codes Approval Scheme) is distinct from other trader approved schemes in that individual traders cannot sign up to it – the only way a trader can display the TSI-approved code logo is through membership of an organisation whose code of practice has passed a stringent two-stage process to gain approval. The high standards of the approved codes are maintained by a robust system of annual onsite audits by TSI-appointed trading standards professionals.
3.The ABI is the voice of the UK’s insurance and long-term savings industry. It has over 300 members, which together account for around 90% of premiums in the UK domestic market.
The ABI’s role is to:
- Be the voice of the UK insurance industry, leading debate and speaking up for insurers.
- Represent the UK insurance industry to government, regulators and policy makers in the UK, EU and internationally, driving effective public policy and regulation.
- Advocate high standards of customer service within the industry and provide useful information to the public about insurance.
- Promote the benefits of insurance to the government, regulators, policy makers and the public.
4.The BBA is the leading trade association for the UK banking sector with more than 230 member banks headquartered in over 50 countries with operations in 180 jurisdictions worldwide. Three quarters of the world’s globally significant banks are members of the BBA. As the representative of the world’s largest international banking cluster the BBA is the voice of UK banking.
BBA has the largest and most comprehensive policy resources for UK banks and represents members in the UK, Europe and on the global stage. Its network also includes over 80 of the world’s largest financial, legal and professional services organisations.
BBA members manage more than £7 trillion in UK banking assets, employ nearly half a million individuals nationally, contribute over £60 billion to the UK economy each year and lend over £150 billion to UK businesses.
5.The Building Societies Association (BSA) represents all 44 UK building societies. Building societies have total assets of over £330 billion and together with their subsidiaries, hold residential mortgages of over £240 billion, 19% of the total outstanding in the UK. They hold over £240 billion of retail deposits, accounting for 19% of all such deposits in the UK. Building societies account for about 28% of all cash ISA balances. They employ approximately 39,000 full and part-time staff and operate through approximately 1,550 branches.