Thereâs a new endangered species to add to the ever growing list. Never mind your black rhinos or your Sumatran orangutans. No, the one we need to worry about is UFPLS.
The ABI has called time on pensions jargon. Itâs consulting on a new guide to pensions language which will clear away the confusing in favour of simplicity to make it all easier to understand and help consumers make more effective comparisons.
The consultation (which is open until 19 June) appears to be one of those rare occasions where everyone (ABI, industry, government and consumer groups) is cheerleadingÂ for the same team. Where something is being allowed to be a âgood ideaâ without the other team waiting in the wings ready to wind it with a vicious, and extremely well aimed, football.
And it is a good thing. As an industry we have always struggled with what should be the simple act of talking to our customers. There are those of us who love their jargon and cling to it because knowing words other people donât makes them feel a little bit special. Thereâs a word for them too. However, we know very well just how hard some companies have fought over the years to be rid of it. We know this because sometimes they ask us to help them.
Weâve found ourselves reading through a lot of literature over the years. Frankly even that is jargon. No disrespect to any of our fine providers but Iâve never found myself reading a set of SIPP key features and confusing it with Jane Austen. Anyway, on a first read, it can be easy to think âWell this could be betterâ and often things could. But itâs not always a fair fight. Many times the conversation has turned to âYes, weâd like to change the wording but thatâs what itâs called, isnât it?â.
As frustrating and awkward as some of our industry language is, we are bound to use it. Consumers need consistency when comparing offerings and if one provider called it an UFPLS and another called it âa taxable lump sum you can have before you take out drawdown or an annuityâ then things probably wouldnât be any better. Although I suspect that ânew kitchen fund p.s. youâll have to pay some tax on topâ would probably work for a good number. Consistency is one of the ABIâs priorities in the new guide and we wish them well with it.
There is one question that bothers me. How well will any of us cope in a completely jargon free environment? It has always been there. Itâs familiar and reliable (except when it all changes and then we get new jargon to play with, which is fun too). Perhaps itâs not so much a question of whether we can kill off the jargon but if we will all fare better than UFPLS in the brave new world?