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Scottish Life: ‘Unfair’ to focus on pension fees opacity

Business development director says industry must get better at communicating the value it delivers.

By Michael Trudeau | Published Aug 09, 2012 | comments

Full disclosure of costs and fees in financial products should not be taken for granted and it is “unfair” that the recent debates over transparency have focused on financial services and pensions in particular, Scottish Life business development director Fiona Tait has argued.

According to a blog entry from Ms Tait, financial services is not the only industry in which service providers apply complicated charges based on clients’ assumed ignorance of what they’re being sold and providers of pensions have especially been singled out.

Ms Tait writes: “The implication that we have a special duty to disclose our costs and charges to clients because we sell products they don’t understand is unfair.

“Certainly we have a duty to treat our customers fairly but that duty should, in all fairness, apply to all purveyors of technical products and services.”

In the automobile repair industry, for example, customers have no idea if they are being overcharged unless they compare prices from multiple garages for the same work, Ms Tait says.

She adds: “I am not citing these examples as an excuse to promolgate unfair charges and practices, these need to be stamped out. We also need to get better at communicating what we do and the true value it can deliver.”

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