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Can You Trust Your Bank? Join in the debate

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Eamonn Walsh | 13:36 UK time, Monday, 13 June 2011

The Panorama team go undercover to test whether staff in our high street banks have learnt the lessons from the massive penalities imposed for mis-selling insurance and investment products.

Financial journalist Penny Haslam meets savers who have lost out because they were persuaded to put their money into risky investments and talks to former staff about the pressure they faced to sell.

We welcome your views on Can You Trust Your Bank? Please use this forum to leave your comment.


  • Comment number 1.

    My elderly mum had a bank (Alliance & Leicester) mis-sell them an investment product, there was an awful time of angst and stress when £50k turning to £30k and dropping.. the bank investigated and paid back in full with interest. However the stress really affected my 81 year old mum and I don't think she's been the same since. If she didn't have me to fight for her she would never had the cash back..

  • Comment number 2.

    i was mis-sold insurance...& couldn't do anything about it, as I only found out 21days AFTER the time frame to cancel my loan was up. After putting my complaints through to RBS, I was told they could not do anything about it, even though they agreed I was misinformed. I'm currently going through the Ombudsman regarding this.

  • Comment number 3.

    ......The Panorama team should investigate mis-selling of interest rate swaps and other financial instruments .....to small businessess by these banks. My company has been mis-sold one of these by Barclays ...and it appears there is an exit fee payable which I wasnt aware of when they sold me this product.......I had no prior financial knowledge of these instruments.

  • Comment number 4.

    Bank workers are put are imense pressure to sell and hit targets. Bank workers that do not hit the targets and sell enough products are then targeted by the bank manager and area manager and are bullied. I have witnessed many employees in tears at work because they are threatened with loosing their jobs because they are not selling enough products. Employees are threatened with incentive loss and job loss. I have been an employee and seen many other employees leave and be signed off work by thier GP due to stress and depression because of the pressure. Mis selling happens because of the pressure from the employer not because of incentives.

  • Comment number 5.

    Panorama should be careful by ending this programme with someone seemingly recommending that people dabble in the Market themselves without any advice. This is as bad as gambling. It is worth noting that the majority of financial advisers spend years taking exams and want to provide their customers with the correct advice. Anyone investing will be told that investments canceled as well as fall and money should be left for a minimum if 5 years, the worst thing you can do if you find you are losing money is to withdraw it. Panorama should also note that Hsbc advisers do not receive any different commission or bonus for selling an adventurous fund over a cautious one so it should never belabour anything else than the customers preferences. How many people know that having your money in cash is the worst kind of purchase you can make at the moment and that in itself is losing money.

  • Comment number 6.

    I was a Lloyds Bank manager who was glad to take early retirement in 1992, when the rot had already set in. As an example, shortly before I retired, Lloyds managers were told the bank prohibited them to grant a personal loan to a customer unless Payment Protection Insurance was sold, although customers could not to be told of this requirement as it was illegal.

    Rewards to bank staff for selling "products" should be banned, all staff should be on salaries only.

    Representatives of the British Bankers Association (no doubt highly paid) have appeared on television for many years to ward off detailed and justified complaints about banks. They are like politicians, skilled at waffle, and never give a straight answer to a straight question. If they are allowed to appear on television in future, there should also be a translation of their replies in plain English.

  • Comment number 7.

    I admire your attempts to uncover mis-sellling practices for which the banks have an unenviable reputation. Some of what you showed was shocking. Understanding risk is paramount to anyones decision to invest. 5 years ago investing in mainstream UK funds was consider by the regulators and those bodies behind them as medium to high risk, investing in emerging markets was very high, investing in deposit funds no risk. Well many UK funds invested in our banking system and have lost a lot more than emreging market funds, deposit funds are earning in many case less than 1%, with inflation increasing your money is losing value in real terms every year. What is risk?
    The regulators will never be able to foresee where future trouble lies. They didn't with Equitable Life, the worldwide banking system and many more less publisised cases.
    What is about to happen is that the past govenment, our currrent government and the regulators are about to hand far more power over our investments to the banks. Is this what we really want?
    Panorama if you want to protect the consumer then don't dwell on the past and try to make entertaining TV. Address the Retail Distribution Review and the regulators role in accessing risk, it can't be done from an historic perspective.

  • Comment number 8.

    I have no doubt mis-selling continues in the banks and this must stop. The fault ultimately rests with the CEO's but more due to their controls to prevent mis-selling not being enforced by senior management in the banking networks rather than the top brass actively encouraging. There most certainly is intense pressure on bank staff to hit sales targets and those that repeatedly fail will be out on their ear. Those that flout the rules will also be out but only if senior management in an area office enforce the rules properly; if the CEO was made aware of mis-selling and any cover up heads would certainly roll. Panorama have not told us anything new here and it was interesting to hear the elderly couple who both had their complaints upheld by the Ombudsman but unfortunately had to pay large fees to the company who assisted them with the claim.... hold on, haven't Panorama missed something here? There are companies out there also profiteering on people's misery yet this isn't questioned? Another episode to investigate this I think. And who is this 'Paul Cooper - Claims Consultant' who stuck the boot in? I wonder if he charges and if so, how much?

  • Comment number 9.

    These days the title of Bank Manager or Financial Adviser are misnomers. They are glorified Sales People who have unrealistic targets and this leads to mis selling and Fraud. Area managers Directors are aware, but as long as numbers are hit nothing else matters. PPI is just one product that has been proven to have been mis sold. There are many others like packaged accounts, accoiunting software, investments etc. which are dubious about the actual benefits to the customer. The moment the banks decided to model themselves on the retail shop outlet, they lost all credibity. Previous a Bank Manager was eductaed to a high level, experienced and respected meber of the community. These days, typically a 'bank manager' is young, little education, no experience, no knowledge of world affairs. At the end of the day it is no different to other high pressured sales role like that of double glazing slaesmen or time share sales.

  • Comment number 10.

    This was a shoddy journalism. (1) As a former 'bank adviser' I can assure you it is not 'commission', advisers have not been renumerated directly for many years. It is fear of the consequences or not hitting targets. Not hitting a sales target is a 'disciplinary' matter in a bank which can mean you can never get another job again. (2) The reporter failed to explain exactly what type of investment the customers had invetsed in. Some are not protected unless held for the full term and this was not made clear in the programme. Most are intended for terms in excess of 5 - 10 years and over the period 2008 to prsent day all have suffered. (3) According to the Chartered Insurance Insitute a Cautious fund can contain 60% shares, a Balanced fund 80% shares. The use of these definitions of risk is a problem and varies across the industry which needs a standard 'risk profile' for clients to complete. This was not made clear. (4) Your 'expert' from BestInvest is hardly unbiased. Bestinvest are an 'execution only' firm that does not offer advice to customers. (5) Your Claims Consultant is completely unnecessary. Clients can complain free of charge to the FSA directly and this was not made clear. He has a vested interest in making customers complain, that's how he makes his money ! (6) The woman who claimed she had done well, then took more risk made a classic mistake driven by greed, then to claim she didn't want more risk when it went down in value is her fault. More risk is 'more risk' not 'More money' I note she is not saying the adviser falsified her signature on the document. This is her fault for being greedy(7) The programme did not make clear where customers can go for unbiased advice who do not wish to use banks. Showing the lady who does her own thing is very irresponsible. Most people have absolutely no idea how to invest, That is why financial advisers have rigorous training and are more regularly tested than either your GP or a solicitor.

    I know there are some unscrupulous advisers out there, I have worked with a few and that is why I left the banks. The problem is with the whole structure of the industry, and the interpretation of the word 'risk', and the level of financial education in this country, not the investing itself. People who kept their money in cash bonds only would suffer equally, if not more, over the longer term due to inflation. This programme raised a valid point, but ended up trying to be sensational without disclosing the full facts, backed by a very dubious panel of so called 'experts'. I am surprised by Panorama who are generally very thorough.

  • Comment number 11.

    Sorry, the worst kind of lazy journalism. Where to start.

    We all know how bad banks are but what was the point of having two "experts" who were nothing of the sort but just two more advisers working for companies selling financial advice in competition with the banks?

    Similarly with the "claims adviser" advertising his services. How much of the thousands lost by that women was taken by the claims advisers she used? Probably more than went to the bank.

    A far better programme could have been made about specific recent scandals such as Arch Cru which claimed to offer low risk "Cautious Managed" funds that were anything but. Financial analysts Morningstar has pointed just how risky and unfathomable the funds were but they paid IFAs double the usual commission and so were widely sold until shut down by the FSA after losing investors vast sums.

    The problems of unreliable financial advice goes far beyond just the banks and the banning of IFAs from taking commission from the investment providers, as is to happen by 2013 under the RDR, will only go a small way to cleaning things up.

  • Comment number 12.

    Wait till 2013. In a misguided attempt to 'reform' the industry is introducing the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) wher you will have to 'pay' for advice up front. Barclays Banks has already pulled out of advice for 'ordinary' customers, rumours abound that Nat West/RBS are about to do the same. Most Independent Financial Advisers will not be interested in Mr Average investing a few thousand pounds because their costs will be too high to process the business. Where will people go for advice then, Oh the remaining Banks of course ! Panorama should be investigating this scandal.

  • Comment number 13.

    By now all UK bank account customers should have learned the lesson - never trust the bank to advise you on anything and always seek assistance and independent alternative advice - as banks just cannot be trusted by UK consumers. Panorama has continued to help educate those who have not yet learned this valuable lesson. As Major Barbara indicates at 6. the 'rot' had already set in by 1992 - that means we have a very large mountain to climb in correcting UK bank habits and also getting rid of the 'rotten apples' in the banking barrel and also the continuous and relentless profiteering by banks. PPI is only one of many such scams and rackets. We all have many years of hardship ahead of us - because of bankers greed and we should all seek alternatives to using banks wherever and whenever we can find them!

  • Comment number 14.

    Peter Q Comment 11. Whilst I agree with most of your points raised I would argue, as an IFA with your final comments. IFA's have under FSA regulations to offer clients the chance to pay by fee, or commission. The problem is only a few clients will pay by fee when they are told they will have to pay for a proportion of time, travel, research, office costs, licenses, professional indemnity fees, examination, professional membership costs, technology whether they go ahead with the advice or not. And possibly pay a 'retainer' for regular reviews. Most clients would rather have 'free' advice, then pay through commission. I see nothing wrong in this as long as it is made clear and transparent. What would be helpful if commissions were set as standardised across the industry to remove product bias. RDR will do nothing to improve the situation and if anything will drive customers into the hands of the banks who will, no doubt, give 'free' advice as long as you have certain products with them and the misselling will continue........

  • Comment number 15.

    Banks are businesses and they employ and remunerate on success. Very few of those advisers enjoy the pressure they are under. It is niave to presume that they are employed to advise. They are paid to sell and do so within the rules. Only a minute proportion of population will ever pay for advice up front, therefore I think we should accept that we are being sold to. When I buy a car I expect honesty and integrity but I am aware that the salesperson wishes me to buy their car. If we accept this fact we can all shop around and make an educated informed choice and face the fact the bank does'nt care if we've been customers for 3 months or 30 years.

  • Comment number 16.


    The cost of advising small investors after RDR will be no different from now. The difference is that now IFAs are paid sales or "trail" commission by the product providers to sell their products. That cost is still paid by the investor in exorbitant management fees for the products.

    In many products, more of the management fee goes as sales commission to IFAs than to the fund managers for actually managing the investment.

    In no way can that be called independent and hence so much dodgy advice and "commission bias". After RDR there will be no more backhanders and fees to advisers will be explicit not hidden within fund management fees. Either way the investor pays and pays heavily. The public don't need salesmen, they need proper advisers

    Also under RDR the qualifications needed will be raised though still way below degree level. As Treasury minister Mark Hoban has pointed out, there are no educational requirements for IFAs and the current vocational requirement is only the equivalent of that for a McDonald's shift managers.

    Despite all the propaganda from IFAs, most of them ex bank and insurance salesmen anyway, to prevent the ending of lucrative commission-based selling, the RDR is a step in the right direction. It needs to go much further.

  • Comment number 17.

    If i can help it i don't keep money in the bank, neither are my savings kept in a bank. My friend wanted to pull out money to buy a car, they told her she needed to give 24 hours notice, which was fine, when she went to collect the money, they asked her to fill out a form, as to why she wanted to money, and asked for 2 forms of ID, she was offended that she needed to give her bank a reason to pull her own money out, disgusting really!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Re 16 Peter-Q. I think there is some confusion here between management charges from the provider and what ongoing 'commission' is taken by an IFA. Also some confusion here with 'font loaded' insurance insurance policies of polden days. I hardly think an average of 0.5%, a typical fee nowadays, for ongoing regular advice to a client throughout the life of an investment 'extortionate'. And remember, if an adviser feels that the product is not performing as expected they can advise the client to change provider, for the same fee. Hardly Dodgy dealings.

    Fees to advisers are already 'explicit' and explained in full at the time of advice, in a 'cost of sale' plain English document provided to clients and in the Key Features literature provided from the product provider. The effect of charges on a clients investment also also shown in a personalised illustration. There are no 'backhanders'. I can only assume you worked in the industry in the past.

    As for Mr Hobans comments, many advisers already hold degrees, all must have already achieved the qualifications set out by the FSA. Anyone involved in the industry advising must hold new qualifications post 2013, minimum QCF Level 4 ! (A degree is Level 5) Mr Hoban has already been forced to apologise for his comments and it has been pointed out to him on more than one occasion that 50% of all top Dow Jones CEO's have worked in Mc Donalds.

    Certainly RDR has some interesting points but its total impact has not been thought through. (Much like healthcare reform :) )With only approx 26,000 IFAs in the UK now and this expected to drop by 20%, FSA estimates, by 2013. Where will you be going for advice post 2013 ? Or will you be doing it yourself ? in which case you have only yourself to blame when it goes wrong, and no FSA compensation scheme to fall back on. I think your impression and knowledge of the financial services industry belongs pre financial services act of the 1980's. I suggest you find out more.

  • Comment number 19.

    Re 17. Standard practice among banks. They would rather sell you a 'car loan'. 2 forms of ID is not unreasonable to ensure they don't give money to the wrong person, but asking the reason is none of their business. They also do that to 'defend their net recepits', ie if you are taking the money to get a better rate elsewhere they will invite you for a chat and try to persuade you to stay with them. Don't stand for it ! My bank did it, I closed my account, my partner closed her account, my sister closed her account. They won't do that again......:)

  • Comment number 20.

    Re Comment 4. Sarah. I couldn't agree more. The bullying culture of banks drives the wrong behaviours. Time get rid of the target culture and return to responsible capitalism. It works for Messers Gates and Buffet.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    Re 16 PeterQ. Sorry Peter you are back in the dark ages with those comments.

    As an IFA I charge my clients 0.5% per annum to look after their funds, which includes advice on risk, regular reviews and meetings, hardly a major part of the cost.

    Initial costs have been fee based for about a decade and since 1994 have been expressed in cash terms to a client both face to face and in writing.

    As for the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) it will increase the cost of advice, despite what Mark Hoban says. After all, my time has to be paid for and I have just spent nearly 300 hours gaining the required "qualifications" which as a matter of interest were of no practical assistance to either myself or my clients.

    We need good quality advisers, but training and study need to be focused on client needs, not on retained garbage from set exams.

    At age 60 I am stuck with learning about European Financial Legislation for what purpose I do not know. Certainly the couple in their 70's who I am helping through the shambles created by Towry and lowering their risk at the same time, will not see the benefit!

  • Comment number 23.

    I thought about approaching my bank with regards to my savings but this recent investigation has certainly made me think twice. There have been a couple of posts about RDR - as I don't work in financial services, how will this help me as a consumer as some posters say this will help and others say it drive people like me to the banks.....? Confused!

  • Comment number 24.

    Re 23 JimmyWolf. I wouldn't worry about RDR yet. It does not become effective till Jan 2013, Suggest you look on UNBIASED. co uk who will put you in touch with an IFA in your area. Then meet with them, see if you get on as it is a long term relationship and feel free to ask as many questions as you like. Believe me us IFA's don't mind this, but for Gods sake don't say 'I want to make as much as possible with no risk'. You may not survive the initial meeting :) They will then look at all your circumstances, debts, budgets, mortgages etc etc. The more you tell them the better the advice will be. They will ask you about your previous experience, what you want to achieve, your time schedule and will talk at length about risk and realistic returns. They will ask about your preferences and concerns. They wil talk about how they get paid and probabaly offer you options depending on what you require. It will take at the very least 2 hours. They will take the info away and return to you with suggestions. Then feel free to ask even more questions, if you are uncomfortable with their suggestions they will happily alter them, and explain the pros and cons of doing so. There is no one right investment for everybody. Good luck !

  • Comment number 25.

    I was absolutely appalled when I watched this episode - not by the bank advisers but by the ridiculously "biassed" unbiassed panel they had on there and the completetely cluesless woman they had doing the interviews.
    Most of the observations were not exactly news worthy - they were just made to sound it.
    When the guy said if you invest 50k you will never check the value of it & it be worth zero !! Well id like the "unbiassed" guy from bestinvest (an independent firm in direct competition with the banks and someone whos company stands to financially gain from slating the banks) to give me an example of when it could if youve invested into a portfolio of investment funds ?? when all the big companies in the uk all go bust on the very same day and all government bonds become valueless along with properties & corporate bonds ????

    And when the HSBS guy said he could tell she was cautious from her eyes... taken out of context this sounds absolutely ridiculous but the truth is you can tell by a clients reponse to certain questions & discussions what their attitude is to certain investment areas. Furthermore when he did fill out the "scientific" risk questionaire and she came out as balanced the lady expert said "theres no way this client is balanced" which is exactly what the adviser had said from the eye comment.

    And whoever said earlier that the lady who signed a form to go from cautious (because she only made 6k) to more adventurous was greedy then they are absolutely right. This adviser would not have been financially rewarded for this switch he/she would simply have pointed out to the client what she would have made over the same time by being more adventurous and she signed a form to proceed. Its only when the markets start to drop that these people come out of the woodwork and say "oooh I never realised - I was never told "

    The comment made by the Lloyds guy stating that 2% upfront was "pretty much market leading" isnt that far from the truth either. There arent many advised options that offer a lower upfront charge whether it be taken by fees or commission.

    The problem with investing is this..............when investments and the markets are going up customers love it - the advisers are the best thing since sliced bread... when they go down - the advisers are hard sell salespeople and clients never knew they could go down in value.

    Ive yet to hear a customer ask how an investment with no risk has made 13% in one year !! but ive heard many saying they didnt know it

  • Comment number 26.

    Totally biased sensationalist poor quality Panorama programme. Why don't the researchers do their homework and focus on the real issues? Two advisers don't make the industry a sham. Putting this programme out at a time when we are going through the worst recession in 70 years, which affects stock-market investments in the short term (DUH!!??) means that some people will be losing money and no matter what they might have been told clearly about at the time of investing, people have very 'short-term and selective' memories. There are safeguards in place via the FSA, but one of them doesn't include defending the public's claims around poor performance. If someone invests, knowing and understanding the risks, they should stick with their commitment to invest for the long term. The problem arises when people encash a paper loss and materialise the loss. The ambulance-chasing brigade (Claims companies) hardly help when they charge up to half of the claim in commission. Let's have a programme on the Claims companies. There are avenues for people to take their own claims to the FSA at NO cost.

    Where's the balance in this programme? 0.5% deposit interest, less tax and inflation at 4.5% gives a significant negative return, which investments, 'held for the long term' are designed to combat. Of course, most people need stock market related investments, otherwise they're at the mercy of inflation. To finish with commentary from an ordinary member of the public inferring that everyone should go direct, even though that is an expensive and high risk strategy that the vast majority don't have the money or erxpertise to do, is grossly misleading and dangeroud. The programmers should be sued for this appalling advice. Adding a comment that it isn't for everyone is not enough and there should have been a lengthy explanation and disclaimer at the end of the programme to ensure that vulnerable investors (the majority of Retail Bank consumers) do not follow their 'advice'.

  • Comment number 27.

    Please can I make it clear that my post has been edited.

  • Comment number 28.

    As a financial advisor in a bank, I have just spent half an hour shouting at the television following one of the shoddiest, laziest, pieces of so called journalism I have ever witnessed.

    Clients are current receiving next to nothing on their savings and with inflation running at arount 5 per cent are losing their purchasing power at an alarming rate. The advisors job is to discuss this with the client and offer a choice that matches their appetite for risk.

    To have a claims advisor on was an utter disgrace. I had a client in my office recently who paid one of these fearmongers £360 up front to make a claim for their mis-sold policy. Turns out, they didn't even have one!! reputable huh? Oh and by the way? will these company's pay the customer's loan if they lose their job?

    By far the worst aspect of this programme was the complete lack of explanation as to what type of products were being recommended and how these products might benefit a customer, and also that the lady who invested the £11000 at the start was in a guaranteed product and would have received her money back had she remained in the product until it's term..

    The choices are offered, and the client decides whether the options are right for them, I advise clients on these products on a daily basis, and yes, I want to make sales. However, the choice is theirs, and if they choose not to invest, we offer the best bank accounts available. There are always going to be disreputable salepeople, but that is the same in any industry.

    Come on BBC, lets have a balanced view for a change.

  • Comment number 29.

    Panorama. If you want to look at the real causes of miselling in banks send someone in to work undrecover as a Financial Adviser. Let them listen to the morning phone conferences when they are told they aren't selling enough, let them be made to stay late calling hapless clients in for a 'review', let them be called 4 times a day by area and regional sales managers to ask why they haven't 'performed' and are letting clients down by not meeting their needs, protecting their 'families, finances and futures'. Let them be forced into making ficticious appointments so they can get a lunch hour. Let them be placed on a 'disciplinary' for not 'reaching performance targets', let them be moved every few months to a new branch often over an hours travelling from their homes in order to encourage them to 'resign'. Let them go off sick through stress, have heart attacks, nervous breakdowns or attempt suicide and be told 'you are obviously in the wrong job', and eventyually be 'managed out'. Anyone working in a bank or high street building society will recognise these behaviours. I am not making excuses for shoddy advice but there are bigger industry issues here surrounded by a conspiracy of silence between the management desperate to please shareholders and unions terrified by the threat of more job losses. British Banking used to be the best in the World. Now it is a sham and a national disgrace.

  • Comment number 30.

    Schoolboy journalism from the BBC. I have never seen a more biased view before. The advisers being filmed were undoubtedly more expert than the so called experts reviewing the tape. The ambulance chaser (sorry 'claims consultant') had no credibility whatsoever. Plus an anonymous ex bank financial adviser who clearly had an axe to grind about his previous employer - a credible panel indeed. Each one with a vested interest in the bank bashing being shown

    In 24 years in banking (and having worked for two of the banks mentioned) I never saw a bank adviser dismissed for failing to hit targets but a fair few were for not acting compliantly - does the BBC have any idea how tightly financial advice is regulated?

    The BBC couldn't even be bothered to make it look balanced with the panel of 'experts' re-wording what we'd just heard so that it meant something that suited them. The HSBC chap clearly was talking about using more than just a prescriptive set of questions to ascertain risk. He was looking at the customer to see her face when risk was discussed - in my view an excellent check to see if the client understands or is just nodding to avoid admitting they don't. If the actress answered the questions as a medium risk investor then she hasn't stuck to her brief - from the comments he made I would expect that the adviser may well have questioned that before making a firm recommendation. We'll never know as I doubt that bit will be shown.

    At no point did I see or hear a recommendation to invest being made, I heard a lot of generic information and some conversations around what type of risk may be appropriate, but no-one recommended a product as far as I could see. I guarantee if they had this would have been shown.

    The case studies were ridiculous and the fact that one woman said that she was out of pocket because the 'claims consultant' (remind me of the qualifications needed for this made-up occupation) fees left her several thousand pounds down. This was after the bank had refunded all of her investment plus interest. Perhaps a more worthy programme would be to investigate this.

    All credit to HSBC for having the bottle to back itself for its advice record but more importantly for standing behind the individual who was filmed. The other two banks could have shown a little more solidarity

    For those who say don't trust the banks - fine, just save up the £150,000 plus you'll need to buy your house and you won't need them. Just make sure you have somewhere to store this money safely as clearly you won't be using%2

  • Comment number 31.

    This programme was a pantomime piece of journalism. The whole programme was weighted against bank Financial Advisers. The 'experts' were the pantomime dames, oohing and arging, with a biased attitute against the banks, as after all, they are in direct competition. If this was a balanced programme, where were the videos to show the Co-operative Bank Advisers and the Santander Advisers, who had impressed the 'experts' ?

    Have Panorama considered the consequences of encouraging viewers to deal directly with the markets? Where would you place this activity on the scale of risk? The answer, Panorama, is pretty high.

    There are good and bad in all industries. There are good financial advisers and bad financial advisers (Exactly the same for Independent Financial Advisers!). Unfortunately the Bank Financial Advisers are under huge pressure to sell, to meet targets, this is something that should be addressed by The FSA, instead of all the fault being heaped onto the Advisers, (Barclays seems to come to mind, for some strange reason)!

  • Comment number 32.

    We need to go back to the tradional Bank manager, who was customer focused. Not only that the Bank manger was educated, had a wealth of experience in Banking,even thoug he was well educated he still had to undo the ACIB qualification. When they spoke they spoke with authority. Today a 'bank manager' has little or formal educational qualification and there is no requiremnt for them to study for ACIB.They have little knowledge about business, little banking experience, and a tick box mentality- "the computer says no" or computer says "yes". You call these people bank mamngers. The term used be used correctly. There is a lot of mis selling and fraud going on just to meet targets. The evidence has been sent to the apprprite people in the banks, but nothing changes.

  • Comment number 33.

    I like to get down to brass tacks - an indefatigable fact that removes the whole Panorama mis-selling argument here.....let's not forget that the vast majority of Bank advisers have a range of products to 'sell' from guaranteed capital safe products for the 'risk-averse' to medium risk for the investor who wants to seek much better returns over the long term (5 years+). They are not rewarded any differently for each product. Where's the incentive to mis-sell? If customers want a bteter than -4%+ return, they have to do something different, even if it's only a guaranteed FOOTSI tracker style product. The only downside usually for such products is no gain, but return of capital. In the majority of instances I would venture, it is the customer's fault for 'cashing' in a loss early, as the customers filmed did, not the adviser's.

  • Comment number 34.

    I have to agree with many, this programme was not one of the greatest but it is a massive subject that had to be covered in half an hour. A series would be more appropriate. With respect to all concerned we have experienced a huge con by a well known International Bank, based in London that you would consider to be blue chip with integrity to match. On their website they seem to think they are WonderBank. We have lost an eye watering half a million in 5 years.Many others will find themselves in the same situation shortly.In 2005 our Blue Chip bankers teamed up with some unscrupulous Financial Advisors and using the Blue Chip name as bait, mis sold an apparantly believable but ultimately fraudulent Equity Release plan to uk expat pensioners in Southern Spain. This type of plan was banned in the UK years ago. The plan promised income and tax relief. No income ever came, the tax relief was a con and all concerned found themselves with a repayment mortgage, paying interest instead of receiving income. In our case we had to sell our apartment that was a family capital assett plus it provided a pension for us from the rental. That is all now in the hands of The Bank. We have to sell our home in order to have any money to live on as most of the the proceeds from the sale of the apartment will go to The WonderBank. Our childrens inheritance gone to Wonder Bank, along with our pension.
    Many people you would think would know better, accountants, bank managers, ex company directors etc as well as elderly and frail people were conned. It was cleverly executed, every rule in the book was broken in the sale of this product. For example, unbeknown to the clients the Financial Advisors exaggerated clients assets on the documentation, there was a minimum allowable by The Bank. The Bank never sought proof of assets.
    The Bank is the very worst of British,coming into Europe, ducking and diving regulations and targeting ex pat pensioners who do not live off the UK state and who took care to provide themselves with a pension. I think it is safe to say that if this Blue Chip Bank gets away with it, the UK state will find itself with many many extra elderly people to support. This Bank should be investigated, but, they deny everything, they lie,and everyone is scared of them. That in itself is scary.
    This is a very long story, names cannot be mentioned as anyone who complains get threatened with libel. I always understood the truth not to be libelous but as I say, Wonder Bank seems to make the rules.

  • Comment number 35.

    Can you trust your bank? The short answer is NO.

  • Comment number 36.

    I am in a similar boat to iamcb. We took out a loan with RBS believing it to be a fixed rate loan with no mention of costs. It has brought our business to its knees. We are currently awaiting RBS's response to our complaint.

  • Comment number 37.

    I would like to share some details on a dangerous things happening in UK. lots of credit card and bank forgery is going on where millions of money been stolen from innocent people. Where do i go and complain ? do i get paid by the government for giving these details? will my details be kept secret? can you help me so we can save millions of money in UK

  • Comment number 38.

    The BBC Panorama team could have a huge bearing on banks breaching FSA rules (what has become to be known as mis-selling) in relation selling unsuitable complex products known as Derivatives.
    As a private client, a relative of mine was supposed to be able to bring a case to the Financial Ombudsman, but it now appears neither the FSA or the Ombudsman will be willing to help, for reasons indicated below:
    In a nutshell:
    FINAL DECISION from The ombudsman, who refused to consider our case, considering it to be more suitable for court (because the settlement is in excess of £100k permitted by the ombudsman).
    In addition..
    The FSA have commented, that a key term: "are allegedly 'misleading' rather than 'unfair', we would not be able to consider them for unfairness under the regulations. In this instance, the Financial Ombudsman Service (the Ombudsman) may have jurisdiction"
    As the Ombudsman and the FSA appear unwilling/unable to act, it would appear there is no re-course other than legal action. The main issue with this is that courts do not take into account the level of sophistication an individual has
    My understanding was that the Ombudsman was intended to protect private customers. It now seems that if a bank coerces a private customer into signing a corporate style structured complex product, they get away without penalty due to the large sum the bank will receive ( i.e. if they sell an unsuitable product that generates more than £100k from the sale, the ombudsman is unable to act – and this is according to a “final decision” recently received). Seems to be a very sneaky loop-hole!!
    For those that have the means to bring a case, it would appear the banks are settling out of court rather than risk publicity or even worse a ruling against them that would see the many affected bring forward their cases safe in the knowledge that justice will prevail. There needs to be some hard hitting publicity Panorama style!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    HSBC - pressure on staff to sell was unbearable. Decent experienced staff left due to lack of customer service and the unethical selling practices. Sales targets got higher and higher with staff fearinf for their jobs this in turn led to mis selling just to keep staff from being put on report. Staff were told to concentrate on customers with fee paying accounts or those likely to buy products.


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