18 April 2018

Have you received poor financial advice?

By Amanda Nudds, Solicitor, Hayes + Storr

Many of us will have taken financial advice from banks and other financial institutions at some time, placing trust and reliance on the professional advice we receive. But what if the advice received was not in your best interest and the financial arrangements you have in place are not suitable for your needs? How do you know if your investments are suitable if the provider no longer offers advice? Have you paid another advising firm to put right mistakes?

Have you received financial advice from some of the well-known high street banks such as HBOS, Natwest, HSBC, Barclays and Norwich & Peterborough in the past?

Amongst others, these large corporations left many of their clients without advice after withdrawing from providing advice and have been fined/heavily criticised for the way their advisors have taken advantage of their customers. Staff under pressure to perform have been found to sell certain products to claim bonuses/commission or meet targets.

Anyone advising you in relation to financial products and services has a duty to act in your best interests and by failing to properly consider your individual circumstances and needs, they breach that duty resulting in you being entitled to pursue the institution for their negligence and recover compensation for any loss you suffer as a result.

What constitutes poor advice?

  • Poor advice covers a wide range of issues including:
  • Receiving unsuitable advice resulting in you choosing arrangements not suitable for your needs
  • Risks not being properly explained to you (or in some cases, at all)
  • Deliberately withholding information which may influence your decision on a particular arrangement
  • Only providing you with a limited range of investments linked only to the institution you are seeking advice from
  • The ongoing service and costs incurred in relation to the advice you received

It may be that the products you were advised on were suitable but the institution no longer has an advisor or has failed to carry out its regular contractual review to ensure that these still meet your needs.

When you think back to your appointments did your advisor properly consider your financial circumstances and what you wanted? Your advisor should take everything into account before recommending a solution suitable for your needs and thereafter should explain the risks and likely performance so that you can make an informed decision.

In a recent case, clients had received financial advice which should have been regularly reviewed. It was not until six years later that they discovered they were paying charges for a service they had never received.

What should I do if I suspect I’ve been misled?

You could be entitled to a claim for compensation which would include recovering any fees you paid for receiving the negligent advice, any losses on performance of your chosen arrangement plus interest.

These claims are time limited and therefore if you believe that you may have been mis-sold financial products and received poor advice you should contact us as soon as possible. We can complete an initial review of your current arrangement and advise you further.

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek our specific advice.

If you would like further advice on this matter please contact Amanda on 01328 863231. If you require advice on any other legal matter call 01263 712835 or email law@hayes-storr.com.

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