Explained: What Is A PDS, FSG And Terms?

In this article:

In the video below, Owen explains Financial Services Guides (FSG), Product Disclosure Documents (PDS) and Terms for the finance industry — and what to look for.

It’s boring but it’s IMPORTANT!

If you’re in Australia and want to invest for retirement (e.g. in Super), achieve a savings goal (with a high-interest bank account) or you’re signing up for insurance (e.g. car insurance), you should read and understand:

  • Financial Services Guides (FSG)
  • Product Disclosure Statements (PDS), and
  • The Terms & Conditions (T&Cs)

FSGs

FSGs are for financial SERVICES.

Therefore, you should get one when you see a financial planner, adviser, or if you receive advice online (read our post: the difference between personal and general advice).

When will I get it?

An FSG should be given to you when — or before — you receive financial advice. A financial adviser should give you one, or you should be able to find it on their website (then read it).

It takes 2 minutes to read an FSG and they’re uber-easy to understand (if they’re not, let them know!).

In an FSG you’ll find:

  • The name of the company
  • The financial licence number (AFSL). Cross check the number with the ASIC website.
  • The types of services they offer
  • How to make complaints

If the company doesn’t have an FSG or AFSL number, it might not be legitimate! 

PDS

The PDS should tell you everything you need to know about a ‘financial PRODUCT’, such as:

  • A Superannuation fund
  • Managed fund
  • Insurance (also read the terms and insurance schedule)

A PDS includes:

  • The fees & costs
  • Some risks
  • The name of the company offering the product
  • Some tax information

Every ‘financial product’ should have a PDS. Please do yourself a favour and spend 5 minutes reading it.

Terms

“I love reading the terms and conditions” – said no-one ever.

Terms are boring, full of legal jargon and can be really confusing or unfair. But they’re really important, especially in finance.

In the terms (sometimes called “fee guides” or “fee schedules”) you will find:

  • The finer legal details of the ‘contract’
  • Important information on the risks (e.g. for a share brokerage account)
  • The names of the parties involved
  • Your obligations
  • More information on fees, costs and the risks of you losing money

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Owen Raszkiewicz

Owen Raszkiewicz

Owen is the Founder of Rask Australia, Lead Investment Analyst for Rask Invest and head educator at Rask Education. Prior to founding Rask, Owen was an investment analyst at the highly regarded managed funds research business Zenith Investment Partners and a Writer/Analyst for The Motley Fool Australia. Owen’s formal qualifications include a Master of Applied Finance and Master of Financial Planning from Kaplan Professional, Bachelor of Technology (Information Systems) from Swinburne University of Technology, Advanced Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning) and Diploma of Mortgage Broking Management. He's also completed level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program.

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