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Press Releases

Forty Percent of People Have Experienced a Misunderstanding When Purchasing/Applying for a Financial Product
Many Want Disclosure Statements and Prospectuses to be “Readable”

July 14, 2017

DigitalHybrid Company TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD. (“TOPPAN FORMS” hereunder) conducts a range of voluntary surveys to find out about consumers and their awareness.
On March 30, 2017, the Financial Services Agency of Japan announced the Principles of Fiduciary Duty. For financial institutions to act in accordance with these principles hereafter, it will be important to obtain accurate information about the consumers who will purchase or manage financial products.
TOPPAN FORMS has conducted an awareness survey of consumers regarding the purchase of/application for financial products in order to provide optimal suggestions to financial institutions.
In this survey, 40% of the subject consumers answered that they “have had a misunderstanding” when purchasing or applying for a financial product. In addition, more than 20% of the respondents “skip reading” or “have never read” the disclosure statements and prospectuses* that they should read when purchasing a financial product. These and other findings have clarified that the purchase of/application for financial products have points that need to be improved.
On the other hand, the survey also discovered consumers’ desire for specific improvements of disclosure statements and prospectuses, such as “I want them to be readable” and “I want the number of difficult words to be reduced.” .

  • *A prospectus is a document that is issued to an investor when they apply to acquire valuable securities or in other similar cases. The document provides an explanation of the issuer and details of the valuable securities that the investor intends to acquire.

Outline of the survey results

  • 1. More than 40% of the subjects have experienced a misunderstanding when purchasing/ applying for a financial product.
  • 2. More than 20% of the respondents “often skip reading” or “have never read” disclosure statements and prospectuses that they should read when purchasing a financial product.
  • 3. With regard to disclosure statements and prospectuses, nearly half of the subjects answered that they “want them to be readable.” There were also requests to reduce “difficult words” and for “important matters to be explained orally.”
  • 4. Information provided by financial institutions is “Information appropriate for my budget” or “Information appropriate for my age” in many cases. In comparison to this, there were fewer cases in which financial institutions provided “Comparison with financial products of a similar kind” or “Information that is appropriate for my financial knowledge.”

Concerning two of the seven Principles of Fiduciary Duty, that is, “Provision of important information that is easily understandable for each client” and “Provision of services suitable for each client,” TOPPAN FORMS provides FD Fit Diagnosis, a service for diagnosing a financial institution’s compliance with these principles and optimizing the design of communication tools for their customers. With FD Fit Diagnosis, TOPPAN FORMS diagnoses and improves the existing tools to help financial institutions to fulfill their fiduciary duty.


■ See the following press release for details. TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD. Begins to Provide a New Service for Supporting Financial Institutions in Fulfilling Their Fiduciary Duty Concerning Communication Tools (press release dated May 16, 2017) URL: http://www.toppan-f.co.jp/english/news/2017/0516.html

About LABOLIS

We work with our clients to discover and plan optimum solutions to their issues in customer communication plans through services that make use of scientific approaches including questionnaire-based consumer research, gaze measurement studies and customer data analysis.
At LABOLIS, based on the points revealed by the survey, we will provide support to allow consumers to enjoy information and services without misunderstanding from the viewpoint of consumers who are considering purchasing or making an application for a financial product.

■ The detailed results of the survey are available for download at the following:
Fiduciary duty ni kansuru chosa (survey on fiduciary duty)
URL: http://labolis.toppan-f.co.jp/knowledge_dl/


■ Details of LABOLIS are available at the following:
URL: http://labolis.toppan-f.co.jp/

Outline of the research

  • Survey method: Web questionnaire
  • Subjects: Men and women aged 20 or older who reside in Japan and who have purchased or applied for a financial product*.
  • Number of valid responses: 1,200 (100 each in the age groups of 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s and older)
  • Survey period: June 9 to 12, 2017

*Financial products that were included as objects of purchase and application in this survey are as follows:
・Life insurance, non-life insurance, stocks, bonds, investment trusts, products in foreign currency and loans


In part of the survey results, the financial products are divided into insurance products and financial products other than insurance products because insurance products differ partially in terms of features from other financial products.
・Insurance products: Life insurance and non-life insurance
・Financial products other than insurance: Stocks, bonds, investment trusts, products in foreign currency and loans

≪Request concerning the statement of our name in the reproduction or citation of this press release≫
Please be sure to state our name when you cite or reproduce this press release.
Example: According to a survey conducted by TOPPAN FORMS LABOLIS…

Survey results

1. More than 40% of the respondents have had a misunderstanding when purchasing/applying for a financial product.

In response to a question about whether they have had a misunderstanding about the content of a financial product when purchasing or applying for it (see Table 1), more than 40% of the respondents answered that they have had a misunderstanding. What is more, slightly more than 20% of them answered that they “have often misunderstood” or “have misunderstood several times,” showing that some people misunderstand repeatedly. Misunderstandings about insurance products are slightly more likely than those about financial products other than insurance, but it is not a significant difference.

table1
2. More than 20% of the respondents “often skip reading” or “have never read” disclosure statements and prospectuses that they should read when purchasing a financial product.

We checked to what extent the respondents read the disclosure statements and prospectuses that are presented to them at the time of a purchase (see Table 2). The most common answer was “I only read the important parts thoroughly.” This was followed by “I skim through them.” The reason for this may be because these documents contain a large amount of information.
On the other hand, it was found that more than 20% of the respondents “often skip reading them” or “have never read them.”

table2
3. Nearly half of the respondents answered that they want disclosure statements and prospectuses “to be readable.” There are also people who “want the number of difficult words to be reduced” and “want important matters to be explained orally.”

A question about what creative measures should be devised for disclosure statements and prospectuses (Table 3) revealed that only about 10% answered “Nothing in particular,” while the other 90% want some creative measures to be taken for those documents.
The most common answer was “I want them to be readable,” which was given by 48.2% of the respondents. The second to fourth most common answers were those about “difficult words” and “technical terms.” This allows us to say that the readability of the documents needs to be improved by using words that are easy for consumers to understand.
The answers ranked fifth to seventh were those about “important matters.” As shown in Table 2, many of them “only read the important parts well.” It seems to be important to devise measures to clarify which parts are important, such as to “differentiate ways of indicating” information according to the level of importance.

table3
4. Information provided by financial institutions was “Information that was appropriate for my budget” and “Information that was appropriate for my age” in many cases, while there were fewer cases in which “Comparison with financial products of a similar kind” or “Information that was appropriate for my financial knowledge” was provided.

We asked the respondents what information was provided to them when they purchased or applied for a financial product. (See Table 4.) Many of them answered “Information that was appropriate for my budget” (44.3%) and “Information that was appropriate for my age” (37.9%). In comparison to this, there were fewer cases in which financial institutions provided “Comparison with financial products of a similar kind” (18.3%) or “Information that was appropriate for my financial knowledge” (17.4%).
We believe that listening to customers carefully and providing them with information that is more appropriate for them will lead to “6. Provision of services suitable for each client” in the Principles of Fiduciary Duty.

table4
  • * “DigitalHybrid” and “LABOLIS” are registered trademarks of TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD.
  • * “FD Fit Diagnosis” is currently being filed as a registered trademark by TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD.
  • * In this news release, the figures from the survey results are rounded to one decimal place.
Public Relations Department
General Affairs Division
TOPPAN FORMS CO., LTD.
1-7-3 Higashi Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8311, JAPAN
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