It is interesting to note that as we enter a new decade one of the biggest-selling products (and the banks are the biggest purveyors) are derivative income products. You know the rubbish that everyone has been selling for 12 years that has been missold, not delivered the goods but the commission is high.
I cannot understand why they have not been outlawed, if not by our regulator at least by the people who have sold them and been let down time and time again. Perhaps they are addicted out of necessity for commission.
Some of you will probably remember how they were marketed in the late 1990s and into the start of the Noughties. Projections were shown of how there had been only one fiveyear period virtually in the whole of the 20th century where the market had not been higher at the end of the five-year period than the start of it.
It was the fatuous reliability of the stockmarket that fostered the deceptive name of guaranteed income products, even though the capital was not guaranteed at all.
Nevertheless, the same product which has regularly failed to deliver is still being sold in bucketloads.
So as we leave the Noughties and enter the Teenies where there has not been a period of only five years where the market had been lower at the end but a 10-year period where the FTSE was 22 per cent lower at the end.
The trouble is that the industry as a whole has run out of ideas. Or is it that the only product you can sell at a profit is something that only benefits the manufacturer and pusher? They certainly have never benefited the client.
Ten years after we discovered that all the platitudes delivered with these products were nothing more than shoddy goods, they still appear. IFAs today are supposed to be qualified, understand the markets and products.
Structured products, guaranteed products or whatever you want to call them are a device purely to put commission into unscrupulous salespeople’s hands and deliver huge profits for the clever people that devise them.
It might be interesting for providers of these jerry-built products to actually meet some members of the poor unsuspecting public. I wonder if it might make them think, they might even think twice.
Peter Hargreaves is chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown