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Isa price war rages

An Isa discount war is breaking out with discount brokers inundating investors with 15 million consumer guides in the run up to the end of the tax year.

Last year Willis Owen launched the first of mass marketed guide for the final Pep season but this year it has been joined by up to a dozen others.

But IFAs have hit out at some of the guides for confusing investors and in some cases featuring fund managers only when they advertise.

The HCF Partnership is claiming the “biggest-ever” consumer marketing campaign by a discount broker, distributing more than 5 million copies through the national press.

Willis Owen and Financial Discount Direct have distributed 4 million and 2.4 million guides respectively.

Some fund managers are being selective about which guides to place an advert and HCF admits it will not include fund managers in its guide if they do not advertise.

Fund managers are also concerned that public relations firms are approaching “bucket shops” on behalf of the guides to negotiate deals with fund managers while

The FSA has also warned one broker for failing to disclose commission details.

Best Investments Jason Hollands says: “I know of at least one guide which has been negotiated by a PR company. It is disgraceful. Some of the recommendations in the guides are dubious.”

Willis Owen investment marketing director Julian Penniston says: “We have a thorough screening procedure. In the past only Jupiter and Legal & General have not wanted to advertise and they got equal coverage.”

But HCF partner Richard Craven says: “We do not include funds if they don&#39t advertise – we cannot afford to. But I refute we are misleading investors. They are not for the average investor and are aimed at the well informed.”


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