A group of global financial regulators is calling for improvements to point-of-sale disclosure in financial products.
The Joint Forum, which brings together the global umbrella groups of banking, securities and insurance regulators, issued a report Wednesday that examines the state of point-of-sale (POS) disclosure in each of the sectors of the financial industry in various countries. It found a wide variation in the quality of upfront disclosure and makes a series of recommendations for improving POS disclosure, including that it should be delivered before a sale is made.
Point of Sale disclosure in the insurance, banking and securities sectors calls for: concise written, or electronic, POS disclosure that is provided before the time of purchase. It also recommends that key elements such disclosure should cover, including costs, risks and financial benefits and other features of the product; that the disclosure should be clear, written in a plain language; and designed to facilitate comparison of competing products.
Additionally, the report recommends that the responsibility for preparing and delivering the disclosure should be clearly established, and that regulators should consider how to use their powers to implement these recommendations.
The report notes that existing POS disclosure doesn’t facilitate the comparison of competing products, the quality of disclosure varies across products, and that securities regulators probably do the best job of requiring POS disclosure.
“It is critically important for consumers across all financial sectors to receive adequate product disclosure at the point of sale. The consultative document proposes basic guidance for policymakers and supervisors to achieve this objective,” said Thomas Schmitz-Lippert, chairman of the Joint Forum (which includes the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, and the International Organization of Securities Commissions) and executive director international policy/affairs at the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, known as BaFin.
Comments on the report are due by October 18.