COULD FUND INFORMATION BE A GREEK TRAGEDY?

Jeremy Mugridge, marketing director, Instinct Studios

No one can argue Greece is in crisis and facing uncertain times because of the debt owed to European countries and international bodies. But does this uncertainty for the country also mean uncertainty for fund investments?

I’m sure many would immediately say “yes it will.” Of course the Greek economy will have a knock on effect for investments. But how many investors actually know if their funds have been directly invested in Greek businesses or businesses with Greek interests?  And how many know the exact companies or services, or the percentage of their investment held in Greece? The answer is not many. And without truly understanding or having easy access to the layered details of the fund they’re investing in, they may simply be worrying over nothing.

The problem is that investment providers and financial advisers aren’t used to actively offering the level of clarity that’s required to put investors’ minds at ease. Companies still rely on the printed fund factsheet or factsheet pdfs to get information across. Yes, some companies excitedly point you to a web page dedicated to fund information, but for the most part it’s the same flat information that you’d find in a paper-based factsheet, but this time in ‘digital’ format. I’m sure most investors would struggle to decipher if Greek businesses are a part of their fund because most factsheets don’t drill down to that level of detail.

At a time when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is pushing the financial sector towards greater transparency and ‘smarter consumer communication’, surely more needs to be done?

A major problem with the fund factsheet is that it presents static data that can be up to six weeks out-of-date, rather than rich information that helps to inform financial decisions. Fund information needs to be accessed across a range of digital devices, it should be up-to-date and engaging. Without clearer information and more transparency, investors will continue to say ‘it’s all greek to me’.

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