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Banks mis-selling investments – Another scandal

Filed under: Services — Tags: , , — consumerfinanceclaims @ 12:47

Still reeling from the ppi mis-selling scandal, the banking world is once again bracing itself for another thunderstorm, the one about to fall on its already tarnished reputation. The BBC’s Panorama programme has gone undercover to see what lessons the banks had learnt from their recent damaging publicity over payment protection insurance. The letters of apology to its victims from this drawn out and embarrassing fiasco, are just being posted; and yet still more revelations of providing mis-leading and inaccurate financial advice are being exposed. Following the bailout of “their” industry, their jobs, and despite the effrontery of still paying themselves fat bonuses; you’d think they would honour their promises and work to regain respect, and consumer confidence. Management, with any degree of competence, would go through their organisation like a dose of salts, top to bottom, and put things in order. Is it a training need (hard to believe really) that’s been identified, or a culture change that’s needed. It must seem to many, that bankers operate under something similar to diplomatic immunity!

There are an estimated 35 million investors and savings account holders in Britain. With interest rates on savings accounts almost negligible and inflation eating into the true value of our money, it can be difficult to find good investments. This is where we look to the banks for sound, impartial advice; if you can’t trust your bank who can you trust? Good question!

The programme featured (one of a number) Heather Adams; who took early retirement from her job in a post room five years ago, and went to her bank for advice on how best to invest her £11,000 pension pot. Following the recommendation given by her banks “advisor” her investment for the future had halved, within just six months.

“It sounds stupid but I trusted the bank’s advisor to do the best thing for me. We had built up a good rapport and I really felt that he was interested in helping me,” she said of her initial decision.

Mrs Adams took her complaint of mis-selling to the Financial Ombudsman Service who ruled in her favour and ordered the bank to refund her, and awarded her a further £5000 plus interest. However, after paying fees to the firm that helped win her claim, she still ended up out of pocket. Unbelievable.

Banks must follow rules, we all do; they must be clear about their fees and other charges. They should be offering investment advice that is in the customer’s best interest, not offering advice that best suits their personal finances. The programme highlighted some pretty slick selling techniques, displayed the lengths to which some of these so called advisors will go to increase their commission, or bonus, or their chances of winning some other kind of incentive. Mis-sold ppi delivered a massive blow to what was once perceived by many as an honourable and trustworthy industry, this latest scandal just drags the whole thing down even deeper.

Surprise, surprise, Barclays have now stopped offering in-house investment advice. Watch this space to see who follows next, and what follows next.






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