Most investments require an investment statement.
The investment statement has key information to help non-expert investors decide whether or not to invest. It is prepared by the organisation offering the investment and must be given to you before you pay any money as part of the investment process.
You should read it. If you can't understand the investment statement, a financial adviser may be able to help you.
If the investment is a kind that doesn't require an investment statement, check with the provider about what equivalent information they can give you.
The investment statement will help you understand:
- What sort of investment it is
- Who is involved in providing it
- How much you have to pay and information such as whether there is any cooling-off period during which you can change your mind about investing.
- What the charges are. Information about fees should separate the fees out so you can see what you are paying for. It should also tell you if the fees can change.
- What returns you will get - fixed (as with bonds) or if it varies depending on the investment's performance (as with shares and managed funds). You also need to know about factors likely to affect the levels of returns and about the strength of any guarantees offered.
- What your risks are. You should be told about the risk that your money won't be paid back or you won't receive the returns described in the investment statement. You should also be told about any risk of having to pay more money on the investment.
- Whether the investment can be altered and about any fees charged if you initiate the change.
- How you can cash in your investment and any charges to do this. You should also be told if there's an established market that can be used to sell the investment. If there is an established market (e.g. shares listed on a stock exchange) the investment will probably be easier to sell.
- Who you can contact with enquiries about your investment. You should be given names and contact details of the people who can give you more information.
- Who you can complain to (including an address and telephone number) if you have a problem with the investment. There should also be an independent dispute resolution service and the investment statement may also name a trustee or statutory supervisor.
- What other information is available about this investment. This includes the prospectus and the financial statements, which should be available free of charge.