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U.K. Outlines Plans to Make Financial Products Consumer Friendly

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Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. government outlined plans to make financial products more consumer friendly as it seeks to restore public confidence in the industry after a series of mis-selling scandals.

A government-appointed panel including former Bank of England official Carol Sergeant; Angela Knight, the outgoing chief executive officer of the British Bankers’ Association; and Otto Thoresen, chief executive of the Association of British Insurers recommended banks create easy-access savings accounts and standard 30-day notice periods to close accounts. It also called for simpler life insurance.

“The government is committed to putting the consumer back at the heart of the financial system,” Treasury Minister Mark Hoban said in an e-mailed statement released by his office in London. “Simple financial products offer a unique opportunity to demonstrate that products can both be easy to understand and meet customers’ most important financial needs.”

Public trust in the financial-services industry was damaged by the 2008 credit crisis and a wave of scandals including the mis-selling of consumer-credit insurance and the rigging of the Libor market. The panel’s final recommendations will be published in February.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gonzalo Vina in London at gvina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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