Regulatory Requirements for Plain Language: Making Financial Information Transparent
10/24/12 11:15 AM to 12:00 PM
Deborah Bosley, UNC Charlotte / The Plain Language Group
The financial sector has been the focus of extensive scrutiny over the past several years. Part of that scrutiny is a result of a multitude of financial documents that consumers need to read (and often sign), but which are written in a manner that makes it difficult for the average citizen to understand them. In order to combat this lack of transparency, Congress and federal agencies have issued a number of regulations that require the use of plain language in financial documents such as
- employees benefit summary plan descriptions (ERISA)
- financial privacy statements (GLB Act),
- financial disclosures (CFPB),
- proxy statements (SEC),
- Form ADV, Part 2
- credit card agreements (CAARD), and
- fee structures in retirement benefits for 401(k) statements (Dept of Labor).
This presentation will explain
- what plain language is;
- what the regulations say about clear communication; and
- the research from psychology, organizational communication, management, and linguistics that makes the business case for its use.
This program is appropriate for financial brokers, Registered Investment Advisors, compliance officers, and any others responsible for the financial health of an organization. I have conducted usability testing and have redesigned regulatory (and other) documents for Archer, Daniels, Midland; Wells Fargo; J.P. Morgan Chase; and TIAA-CREF. The results of these studies will be used as “before and after” examples throughout the presentation.
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