CPSA’s comments under this question will refer to product disclosure requirements only.
The simplicity/opacity of Product Disclosure Statements (PDSs) was an issue with which FOFA grappled. However, attempting to make PDSs for financial products comprehensible for the non-expert will by definition run into trouble, as it takes an expert to understand not only how a financial product works, but also to understand the even more important personal implications for the consumer should they purchase the product. A financial product PDS can never replace that expertise. It is for this reason that financial product PDSs should be pitched at the level of experts, not at clients of experts.
Arguably, the financial advice industry has been and continues to include persons with low qualifications and limited expertise, unable to fully understand and advise clients on financial product features and the implications of purchase for clients. The FOFA approach – to load up PDSs with more and more financial product information so that clients may understand product features and implications of purchase by themselves – was doomed to fail. It could also be considered an integral part of FOFA’s attempt to accommodate the conflicts of interest and duty (see point 3 above): by giving clients ‘all’ the information about a financial product, they can’t then complain they didn’t or couldn’t have known the features of the financial product they ended up purchasing. It also absolves the financial adviser from any lack of understanding and this environment of shared ignorance progresses the sale of financial product manufactured by licensees.