Headlines: August 12th, 1998

The Office of Fair Trading has just posted on its website a customer-friendly
guide to savings, buying shares and handling money.

It says that as the Government reviews many areas of social provision,
consumers need to take ever more responsibility for their own financial

And it points out that financial decisions are generally the largest and most
important consumers can make, such as choice of mortgages, savings and
pensions, with success or failure of these affecting the security and stability
of people’s lives.

At the same time it admits financial products and services are increasingly
complex and difficult to understand, despite regulatory safeguards.

John S Bridgeman, Director General of Fair Trading, said: “Consumers can best protect themselves by developing an understanding of financial products along with money management skills.

This web site is designed to help you do this. It is not a substitute for
shopping around or for taking professional advice. Nor is it a best buy guide.
But it should help you approach financial decisions with more confidence,
knowing what choices are open to you and what you need to think about.”

There are sections on financial planning, current accounts, mortgages,
insurance, saving and investment and pensions. Find the website at: