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ANZ tells inquiry: make disclosure documents simpler

by Nick Bendel9 minute read
The Adviser

ANZ has called for disclosure documents to feature “plain English” and less irrelevant information.

ANZ, in a joint submission with the Consumer Action Law Centre, told the Financial System Inquiry that business and legal jargon has no place in disclosure documents.

“Disclosure should be designed to ensure that it is simple and easy to understand for all customers, including those with low levels of literacy,” it said.

The submission also said that prominence should be given to the most vital pieces of information such as the total price of a product, its key features and any important limitations.

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Any features that carry notable risk for a customer “should be made prominent and very clear”.

Generic statements such as ‘seek advice’ or ‘read the PDS’ can obscure more important information, so these should be dropped or included later in the disclosure documents, ANZ said.

ANZ also said that disclosure documents should make it easy for people to shop around and make apples-for-apples comparisons.

“Consistent terminology and the way figures are expressed should as much as practicable be consistent between products and providers,” it said.

ANZ told the federal inquiry that good disclosure makes for efficient and transparent markets.

However, it added that disclosure is not always the best approach to protecting consumers.

“An option is to move from sole reliance on disclosure of information towards a system … where free consumer guidance is provided and tools are made available to assist with financial decision making,” it said.

[Related: Consumer group warns about the dark side of rate cuts]

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