We help financial services organisations meet their customers' needs and regulatory obligations

Our research helps financial services organisations explain and market their products and services to their customers or members in a language they understand in a way that meets regulatory requirements

  1. Our primary area of expertise is the language of financial services, especially what is known as 'customer testing'.  We have developed the customer testing technique so it meets the needs of our clients in 2020 and beyond. 
  2. We have also contributed significantly to industry's understanding of financial services customers' needs, perceptions and motivations.

Sue Bell has been invited to speak at many round tables and similar events on disclosure.  As an example of our work on disclosure, we conducted the consumer testing for changes to RG97. Our work was cited extensively in the report Disclosure: why it shouldn't be the default.  We also understand and support the move away from reliance on disclosure alone, and are developing research methods to help financial services firms meet their Design and Distribution Obligations.

Our consumer testing work:

√ Disclosure

√ Labelling

√ Instructions

√ Forms

√  Brochures

√ Statement and letters 

We are the experts in consumer testing of financial services documents and processes having tested hundreds of disclosure documents, forms, letters and statements with thousands of customers for some of the largest financial services organisations in Australia. The origin of this work was in testing disclosure, but as the regulatory regime evolves towards Duty of Reasonable Care so do our testing protocols.  This method is also suitable for testing labelling and instructions of any kind

Our needs, perceptions and motivations work

We have conducted in-depth qualitative research and extensive surveys to understand the needs, perceptions and motivations of:

 √ Investors

√  Shareholders

√  Superannuation fund members

√  Financial planners, and their clients

√  Funeral insurance

√  Income protection insurance, trauma insurance,  life insurance

√ Direct life insurance

√ Personal injury insurance

√  General insurance

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Consumer Testing TRIAL OFFER

In Financial Services, the term ‘consumer testing’ means testing a document with members of its intended audience to determine whether the document is easy for them to read, use, and understand. Nowadays, we use consumer testing for all kinds of digital documents and forms as well as traditional pdfs.

Elements of best practice in document or consumer testing are

1. Testing should always be conducted as an individual interview and never in group discussions.

2. Participants should be members of the intended audience who have not been involved in the design or writing of the document.

3. If the sample for the testing is the general public, it should include men and women, younger and older people, people with lower and higher levels of education. 

4. Testing should be conducted by an independent researcher who has not been involved in designing or writing the document.

Susan Bell Research is an expert in this form of testing.   For clients who have not worked with us before: we have a trial offer. See below for details.

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Policy Case Study: direct life insurance

How consumers buy direct life insurance

https://asic.gov.au/regulatory-resources/find-a-document/reports/rep-588-consumers-experiences-with-the-sale-of-direct-life-insurance/

Our report describes how consumers decide to buy direct life insurance and how they decide how and what to buy. Our sense-making approach to research revealed how some consumers struggle with their experience. These products are complex so consumer understanding of their features is often poor.

Here is an extract:

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Policy Case Study: structured investments

Retail investor research into structured ‘capital protected’ and ‘capital guaranteed’ investments

https://www.asic.gov.au/media/1344242/rep341-published-1-May-2013.pdf

‘Capital guaranteed’ or ‘capital protected’ products are complex structured investments that typically offer investors returns linked to the performance of shares or investment markets, with some assurances about the return of their original investment at maturity. Derivatives, such as options, are commonly embedded within the product structure. The purpose of the research was to understand how well informed retail investors were about capital protected and capital guaranteed investments, and to document how these investors chose and evaluated this type of investment.

Our research showed why these investments had appealed to risk-averse investors, despite some of the inherent risks.

Here is an extract

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