Last and Final Call on Financial Services Jargon

My recent Podcast Interview with Rhys Williams on clarity of language in financial services struck a chord.

Thanks for your comments on the subject.


Although guilty of using complex language, jargon and passive language in our communications we shouldn’t beat ourselves up too much. Other industries are just as culpable.

On a flight from Edinburgh to London last week I heard an interesting conversation between two American gentlemen.

Swapping stories about plane delays they had experienced in the past I heard one of them refer to leaving the aircraft as “De-planing”.

What a dreadful phrase. What is wrong with “getting off” or even the accepted English phrase of “disembarking”? How do you come up with a word like “de-planing”? When they get out of cars and buses do they de-car? Or de-bus?

I started to get quite grumpy listening to this conversation. But what finally put the tin lid on it was when the other American gentleman started to refer to getting off an aircraft as “De-boarding”.

Of course inside the airport terminal language abuse is just as rife.

Why do airport gate agents say, “this is the LAST and FINAL call…”?

I wish they wouldn’t. If it is the last call it is also the final one by definition and vice versa.

Of course it’s always the “last and final” call until they make another “last and final” call which means that the first “last and final” call was neither last nor final was it?

In the protection industry we talk about “Kick”. That means Critical Illness Cover. We recommend people buy “Eye Pee”. That’s Income Protection. And of course we overdose on passive language. “A cheque has been sent to you today” instead of the active voice, “We sent you a cheque today”.

The solution? Spot it. Have a giggle about it. And then change it.

Please have a listen to Rhys Williams on the Podcast. He’ll give you some great tips on how to do away with complexity , jargon and passive language.

MPAF17 - Rhys Williams

Now it’s your turn:

Please share your best example of complexity, financial services jargon and passive language. From any industry. Having a laugh about it is the first step in recognising the problem and then changing it.