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Published on : December 10, 2020 14:36

Juggling Jargon Edward Mellor

Juggling the Jargon

Are you aggravated by financial acronyms?

You’re not alone! Do you sometimes feel as though acronyms are taking over the English language? Since the advent of ‘texting’ we have prioritised speed over spelling and grammar. Of course, there are other situations where the need to convey time-critical information makes the use of acronyms helpful. For example, the military and emergency services use them frequently when out in the field, to deliver safety-critical and location-precise information, without risk of misunderstanding. To do our job properly, we need to communicate information in such a way that it is clearly understood by our clients.

Advice that is not understood is not advice – and acronyms don’t help.

Are you DB or DC?

The language of the pensions and investment industry is riddled with acronyms – to the point where it becomes like a secret code, designed to baffle anyone without years of industry knowledge. Do you need to know whether you can make AVCs to your SIPPs before you reach NRA or do you just want to know whether you should be adding to your pension pot from your own pocket before you retire? Are you aware of the differences between a DC (Defined Contribution) and a DB (Defined Benefit) pension scheme? A DC pension scheme is based on how much has been contributed to your pension pot and the growth of that money over time, a DB plan is set up by an employer and offers you a set benefit each year after you retire.

G&T Anyone?


The latest ‘new kid on the block’, Responsible Investment, brings a whole new set of acronyms and code words. Overseen by the UN-backed PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment), the concept of sustainability hinges on whether an investment takes ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) issues into account. Sometimes you begin to wonder whether new acronyms are being invented just for the sake of it. At the extreme end of responsible investing is ‘impact investing’ which is designed to deliver a measurable social or environmental benefit. The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN, pronounced ‘gin’) is complemented by an associated membership organisation called Toniic.

Talking Plan English

We are great fans of plain English. We recognise that if people are to make informed decisions about their financial futures, then they need to understand the options properly and that means we need to take time to talk them through those options clearly and without resorting to confusing financial jargon. We take pride in communicating in plain English, keeping our customers informed with product information, news updates, and publications that are – as far as humanly possible – acronym free. You can rely on us to stay on your wavelength and talk in plain English.

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