Keeping it Plain for the KIIDs
Posted August 16th, 2012
Any profession carries with it a lexicon of terms that to the expert are as much second nature as the skill set itself. To hear skilled musicians talking about tri-tone substitutions or compound time signatures may appear baffling to the lay-person, but to the pros involved is as plain as plain English. However, a musician would never try to sell you a tri-tone substitution and therefore perhaps the need for a “plain English” explanation is somewhat moot.
Just incase you were wondering, the above piece of music is in Common Time (4 crotchet beats to a bar) and is also in the key of B Major (5 sharps). Although it appears to have briefly modulated to E Major in the bar of music we see here. I know. I’m a man of many talents!
In professions where the selling of a product is key then the use plain English must go hand in hand. The technical jargon used in financial circles is ridiculously confusing. I still remember as a child watching economists make forecasts about stock market movements and the national economic out-look. I recall listening to them, but they may as well have been talking Swahili for all it meant to me.
The problem is, even though it was on the news and being made available for public consumption, there was little done to make things clear.
As a professional in any walk of life, it’s easy to forget that at one time you didn’t know what you were talking about either. Using plain English to convey technicalities is not really dumbing down. It is paying the client due respect by accepting that they may not be privy or fluent in a particular language. If somebody whose first language is Greek gave me advice, I may ask them to explain it to me again in English. This isn’t because I am ignorant or lack intelligence. It’s simply because I don’t speak Greek and therefore have no other way of understanding what they are saying.
The same is true in financial circles. The over use of technical terms and phrases will baffle clients. This is no reflection on their intelligence. They just have no frame of reference for the foreign terms you may be using.
Key Investor Information Documents keep things clear and as straight forward as possible. Investors need to know, in a plain, easy to digest language exactly what their choices are and what they are buying in to. Perhaps if we trimmed back some of the jargon we may find that existing and potential investors alike may be more forthcoming.
A KIID will make things a lot clearer when it comes to where and how you want to invest your money. Have a look at the following example. It’s very straight foward and easy to understand.
Image credit: flickr.com/MaxiuB