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Pension jargon took me 10 years to unravel

Pension jargon took me 10 years to unravel

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David Mitchell wanted plain English answers but was met with 10 years of confusing jargon.

Years of flattering fund reports from Prudential convinced David Mitchell, 69, that he was due a fair-sized pension. When it didn’t materialise, he launched a decade-long campaign for answers in plain English. But experts say financial firms are still bamboozling consumers and putting them at risk.

“Prudential has sent me kilos of information, but in my opinion no complete, clear financial account that I as a retail customer can understand,” said Mr Mitchell, a former head gardener to the Queen who for five years lived in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

He is among millions of savers who bought investment bonds, endowments, insurance and, in his case, pensions, invested in insurers’ “with-profits” funds.

Customers were often given little explanation of how the complex funds worked when they were heavily sold in the Nineties. Shortfalls in endowment mortgages based on with-profits funds led to a major mis-selling scandal.

James Daley of Fairer Finance, a consumer group, said: “With-profits documentation has always been complex and impenetrable to the average consumer. Way back in 2001, the Consumers’ Association, now which? was campaigning for more transparency and plain English, but the battle was never won.”

  • Culled from The Telegraph

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