The majority of the British public believes that the government and other institutions must cut the jargon and do more to effectively communicate financial information, according to a new poll.
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Commissioned by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) to coincide with Good Money Week, the poll reveals 45% of people admit to having been confused when receiving financial information.
Some 77% of respondents said they did not know how sustainable investment works, while 55% and 27% respectively were unsure what a credit union or ISA is.
Overall, 81% said financial institutions should do more to report financial information clearly, while 77% said the same of the government.
“People want to make good money choices that take into account the issues that matter to them, whether it be their own long-term financial security, safeguarding the environment or a combination of both,” said Simon Howard, chief executive of UKSIF.
“If, as our research indicates, people don’t feel completely comfortable with everyday financial terms and don’t feel that the financial information they receive is easily understood, making informed decisions is virtually impossible.”
The poll also found that customers of financial products are less likely to shop for sustainable or ethical options than those buying food or clothing.
Some 65% of respondents said that ethical food options were easy to find and 38% said it easy to find ethical clothing options.
Only 22% said the same of financial services, while 69% are unaware they have sustainable and ethical options when it comes to their own financial product choices such as savings and pensions
“We’ve found clear demand for more ethical investment; for instance half of investors would like to see more of their investments and pension invested in renewable energy,” added Charles Middleton, managing director of the ethical Triodos Bank.
“At the same time, two thirds of investors are still in the dark about the activities that their funds or pensions invest in, and therefore may well be investing in areas they are ethically opposed to.
“It highlights a need for greater transparency, supporting the results of Good Money Week’s poll and their call for simple, accessible information about spending on sustainability.”
With conferences, debates and talks held across the UK until October 25, UKSIF hope Good Money Week will increasing understanding of sustainable and ethical investment opportunities across all sectors of society.