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are we the Foz?

abbreviations, acronyms and clarity for consumers

10 August 2007

The financial services sector - like most areas of business and professional life - likes to use TLAs ("three-letter abbreviations"). Look at the paperwork from any financial services company, and you'll probably find an alphabet soup of MVAs, AERs and UELs.

Abbreviations like this can be useful shorthand and save time - as long as you're familiar with them. But if you don't know what they mean, abbreviations and acronyms - like any jargon - can be confusing and unhelpful. This can cause misunderstandings that lead to complaints.

On our website we always try to spell out in full - and explain - technical abbreviations, like GAR, TCF and WPF.

For clarity, we also prefer to use our full name - the Financial Ombudsman Service (or just "ombudsman service") - rather than the potentially confusing abbreviation "FOS".

And we don't call ourselves "the Foz" either.

what the abbreviations mean

  • MVA = "market-value adjuster"
  • AER = "annual equivalent-rate"
  • UEL = "upper earnings limit"
  • GAR = "guaranteed annuity-rate"
  • TCF = the FSA's "treating customers fairly" initiative
  • FSA = Financial Services Authority
  • WPF = "with-profits fund"

media enquiries

  • David Cresswell – phone 020 7964 0134
  • Emma Parker – phone 020 7964 0966
  • out of hours – phone 0771 8658 306

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