We would appreciate your reader's help with problems encountered with Bristol & West Building Society.
We build balanced portfolios for mainly retired people, that is, between 20-30 per cent cash 20-30 per cent low risk and the balance in equities.
On an increasing number of cases on review, we have found B&W have contacted our client direct by phone offering the client a higher interest rate if they see their representative.
We find that a large portion of the client's cash has been locked into normally a five-year term plan with no access.
As can easily be predicted, the clients spend more cash than they anticipate, leading to the sale of another investment in the short term incurring unnecessary charges.
In the current climate, having increased the client's risks considerably and incurring loses on forced sale of existing assets, B&W are creating serious problems for clients. The last straw recently was a couple in their early 80s now “locked” into five-year plans with virtually all their cash. Their offspring have to fund their expenditure until the plans mature.
We have complained to the Ombudsman without result, as the B&W paperwork is very good at supporting the sale.
However if this situation is more prevalent perhaps we could then ask the FSA to investigate these sales.
Independent Financial Advice Centre,