FSA sets out investment Quick Guide

Quick Guide will set out the most important factors consumers need to consider before buying a particular investment product.

Firms would be required to give customers the two-page guide as part of point-of-sale information to help them make informed decisions about investing in products such as life policies, personal pension schemes and investment trusts savings.

Dan Waters, director of retail policy at the FSA, said: "Consumer testing of the Quick Guide demonstrates that it will stand out from other marketing material and should enable firms to clearly set out the key benefits and risks of each type of investment in an easy-to-read format. In the same way as the existing Key Facts documents for mortgage and general insurance products, it will enable people to evaluate much better whether a particular product would be right for them."

The main proposals in today's consultation are that firms must:

*Produce the Quick Guide as a stand alone document;

*Put the Quick Guide at the top of the marketing pack;

*Produce a Quick Guide that follows a tabular format containing

numbered questions and bulleted answers;

*Ensure the Quick Guide is no longer than two sides of printed

paper; and

*Include the 'Key Facts' logo and a 'regulatory message' in the

Quick Guide.

The Quick Guide is one of the main elements within a wider disclosure package for investment products, replacing the current Key Features regime. Work on the other parts of the package is underway, and the FSA aims to publish a further consultation on this in March 2006 including a new approach to projection rates, and proposals on the disclosure of charges.

The final outline of the Quick Guide will reflect the results of this consultation and consumer testing of the complete disclosure package to be undertaken later this year to ensure that the various elements work together in a cohesive way.The final proposals will also take account of further developments in the implementation of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID).

To minimise disruption and cost the FSA plans to bring the Quick Guide into effect at the same time as the rest of the wider disclosure package. The intention is to announce the implementation timetable for the package in the March 2006 consultation.The provisional plan is to bring the disclosure package into effect in 2007, to coincide with the planned implementation of the MiFID and the simplification of the Conduct of Business sourcebook.