Can you write a racy novel next time?
08 Aug 2012
I have recently been fortunate enough to have a book published called "The Roundabout Has Stopped" which is (or at least should be) a plain English and laymen's terms critique of the UK consumer financial system, plus a little bit of economics and a good dose of financial education.

Now I pride myself on being able to describe complicated financial matters in easy-to-understand terms, but my wife, who has just finished reading my book, provided me with other views.

"It's a bit more high brow than I expected," she told me. "I thought it would just be a collection of those funny stories you tell to illustrate monetary policy things," she added.

She focused on one story in particular where she felt I was using language that was far too complicated for most people. It was a story in which I was discussing inflation and its impact on savings , as well as trying to explain simply, "real rate of return".

"It was far too complicated" she said, "next time I'd prefer it if you just wrote a racy novel."

Now this got me thinking about how we in financial services take for granted many of the terms we use. I am never happier that when I'm sat discussing the ROE for the RWA on the latest tranche of mortgage lending, but this does actually illustrate the fact that those of us working in financial services  are generally pretty comfortable with high levels of jargon.

So how do we remember that the important people (our customers) actually need their financial services providers to be straight talking and free from as much jargon as possible? It is difficult because when you are in the world of 3 letter acronyms, it is all too easy to forget that others are not.

Therefore I have decided that I must keep a look out in KRBS and OSB, sorry Kent Reliance and OneSavings Bank, for jargon, technical language and just non customer friendly language in our literature, our letters and our conversations. If any one sees us drifting into acronyms or unclear communication, then please pick us up on it.