UK banks came under fire last night after the BBC’s Panorama recorded bad practice by in-branch financial advisers.
HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds TSB were all criticised for the quality of the advice given by their in-house advisers.
A Lloyds TSB adviser was recorded describing the bank’s 2 per cent set-up charge as “market leading”.
Lloyds said: “If our adviser has described our charges as market leading then he has not met our expectations.”
A Royal Bank of Scotland adviser told Panorama’s undercover customer that the bank had a “sale” on its product which was likely to end soon. He also claimed that “at no stage” could the client lose their money.
Bestinvest senior investment adviser Adrian Lowcock described the adviser’s approach as “pressured”.
RBS said: “We take our responsibilities regarding financial advice very seriously.
“However, we shall investigate the matters raised and, if we find there have been instances of customers not receiving clear or appropriate financial advice, we shall take action to address this.”
The sternest criticism was handed out to an adviser from HSBC, who Panorama said failed to complete a risk questionnaire. Instead, he attempted to evaluate the client’s appetite for risk by looking into her eyes.
The adviser said: “Trust me, I’ve been doing this for long enough now. As I am talking to you I am just looking at your eyes, and when I mention the word risk…put it this way, I think we can definitely put a cross through that one.”
Taylor Oliver financial planner Louise Oliver said: “He says that by looking into the client’s eyes he can build up a picture of their attitude to risk. Unless he is Derren Brown, I don’t think he can do that.”
HSBC said: “HSBC and our adviser in question have an excellent track record in providing accurate and suitable financial advice.”
The programme ended by saying customers could “take matters into their own hands” and manage their investments independently.
If you missed Panorama last night you can watch the full programme here.