Investment advisers must hold accreditation in order to operate in the UK from the start of 2013, the City watchdog has announced.

Mis-Sold Investments See’s New Regulation

The change comes after a long-running review by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) that aims to bolster public confidence in financial advice. An adviser will need to sign up to a code of ethics, be qualified and have up-to-date knowledge.

The rules cover independent advisers as well as those working for institutions. That means advisers employed by banks and insurance companies would also require the accreditation, called a Statement of Professional Standing.

 

Best interests

The accreditation, which will be managed by organisations licensed by the FSA, should ensure that advisers ‘act in the public interest’.

‘Rebuilding trust between customer and adviser is absolutely vital for the future prosperity of the retail investment market,’ said Sheila Nicoll, of the FCA. The watchdog also confirmed that from the start of 2013 advisers will no longer receive commission for selling investment policies.

In the past, the financial advice industry has thrived on salesmen earning commission from insurance firms and fund mangers in return for advising clients to invest in their policies.

But commission payments have been at the heart of mis-selling scandals involving policies such as mortgage endowments and personal pensions.  From 2013, advisers must make clear to customers how much they will charge for services, but these could be paid in instalments, rather than upfront.

 

Qualifications

The new regulations also state that investment advisers must complete 35 hours a year of continuing professional development.

Of this, 21 hours must be structured – such as courses, lectures, seminars and workshops. Research by the FSA has found that 70% of advisers in the UK already achieve this level of ongoing training.

The Financial Services Skills Council had called for a transition period to allow advisers to keep working while studying, in order to prevent a shortage of advisers. Earlier in the week, Barclays was fined £7.7m by the FSA and must also pay up to £60m compensation to customers of two investment funds because staff gave poor advice.

Barclays sold Aviva’s Global Balanced Income Fund – the Balanced Fund – and the Global Cautious Income Fund – the Cautious Fund – to 12,331 people with investments totalling £692m. But many were exposed to more risk than they were comfortable with, and found they lost money when the economic crisis struck.


Mis-Sold Investments: News

Mis Sold Annuity Investments

Tens of thousands of pensioners could be in line for compensation because their pension scheme or financial adviser didn’t tell them they could shop around for the best possible annuity at retirement.

Many assumed they had to buy the annuity offered by their existing pension scheme even if it represented poor value. Shopping around, known as taking the “open-market option”, can boost your retirement income by up to 20 per cent a year.

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Mis Sold Investments & Financial products

Typical funds levy a total annual charge of just under 1.7 per cent, but some are twice this. Pensions – particularly older contracts – can be even more expensive, with some savers seeing their first year’s contributions disappear in charges.

Analysis for the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts by David Pitt-Watson found that the cost of some plans from High Street names such as HSBC, Legal & General and Scottish Widows amounted to more than £200,000 over 40 years for someone saving £200 a month.

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Mis-Sold Investments UK

Maple Leaf Financial have a specialist team of solicitors dedicated to dealing with mis-sold investments from, PEP’s, ISA’s, whole life policies, see list below. We are happy to review these Investment products and to claim compensation for our clients where appropriate.

Each investment case is different and they are all assessed individually. Sometimes we can claim because investments were simply unsuitable and they were mis-sold. In other cases it may be because of technical shortcomings in contracts, regulatory issues or a combination of these factors.

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Mis-Sold Retirement Case Study

Such was the case for a couple about to retire. They asked an independent financial advisor how best to invest an inheritance of £62,000. The advisor suggested stashing £55,000 into investment bonds. The rest of the cash, including £21,500 in other Isas, would be funneled into shares Isa and stocks.

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Tim Capper reports on Financial Mis-Selling for Maple Leaf Financial. Our aim is to ensure you get honest advice and proper guidance to ensure a suitable recommendation can be made to pursue a financial claim

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Tim Capper

Bringing you financial news and information in plain english for Maple Leaf Financial. My aim is to help readers understand these often complex financial instruments.