Treasury has published the initial recommendations of an independent task force led by Carol Sergeant on a suite of simple financial products. The task force proposes:

  • an easy-access savings account; 
  • a 30-day notice account;
  • a simple term life insurance product;
  • a "Simple Products" accreditation body to ensure that these products are meeting core standards outlined by the group; and
  • an accompanying "kite mark" badge to ensure that these products are clearly identifiable to consumers.

The review identified many problems consumers face in buying products, not least complex and inconsistent terms that make products difficult to compare, and the sheer volume of competing products. The “simple products” will each have the same terms and conditions and will be described in exactly the same, straightforward language. Providers will compete on price, service, and the value associated with their own brand. This means that “simple products” will be easy to understand and easy to compare, and are intended to be available on a non-advised basis. The review stresses it has no intention of banning any “non-simple” product. Comments are welcome on the recommendations by 12 October, and the task force plans to publish the final recommendations in February 2013. (Source: Treasury Task Force Publishes Simplified Products Recommendations)