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Trading Standards Institute approves financial services industrys Simple Product framework

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), British Bankers’ Association (BBA) and the Building Societies Association (BSA) 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 BSA, 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."

Photo caption: L to R - Peter Tyler, Policy Director at the BBA; Helen White, Head of Protection at the ABI; Baroness Crawley, Chair of CCAS Board; Brian Morris, Head of Savings Policy at the BSA.

Last updated 01/07/2016