What on earth are we talking about?

What on earth are we talking about?

A friend of ours recently received a letter from his bank, it concerned changes to his business account tariff, and how, apart from a very slight increase in charges, his monthly fees were ‘likely to be around the same as they are now’.

Fairly standard content you might think, but enclosed in the envelope was a beautifully produced 8 page document, that explained in great detail the mechanics behind the letter, a letter that barely said anything other than not much is changing.

I should point out here that we did ask why our friend was not using online banking, but more of that shortly.

The 8 page, full colour document was printed on lovely shiny paper, it was a thing of beauty, an A4 symphony of jargon, gobbledygook, long words and abbreviations, a masterpiece of form over function.

Now, please do not misconstrue the purpose of this blog, I am not criticising the bank at all, I understand completely the reasons for the document, it really is important stuff and whilst the expression ‘2.75% non-Sterling Transaction Fee’ might not get your pulse racing, there may well be occasions when this little fact is vital to know.

The first reason that I mention this letter, and the booklet that accompanied it, is to say that’s why we are here. We keep an eye on this kind of thing so that you don’t have to, if there is something that you receive through the post, or more likely via email, please just send it to us, and we will explain its importance, or otherwise.

The second, and to my mind, most important point that I would like to make is that this letter is typical of the way that the financial industry works, in fact it sometimes must look like we are communicating in a way that is deliberately designed to confuse ‘outsiders’.

In fairness, that really is not the case, there are certain words, expressions, acronyms, and terms that financial professionals use to remove any element of confusion when we communicate with each other, it is a little bit like our own private language.

But, and it’s a really big but, this is not the way that we should be communicating with our clients.

Here at Signpost Financials we remove the jargon, and take time to answer questions properly, in a clear and unambiguous way. Our reports are laid out in a manner that suits our clients, and they know that if there’s a single word, or expression that they are not comfortable with, we will change it, or explain it.

Finally, I said that I would say a few words about why our friend does not use online banking. It’s because he doesn’t want to, it’s as simple as that, and it is his absolute right to choose the way that he communicates, after all, as granny used to say ‘if we all liked the same things, everyone would be after your grandad’.