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Let’s have a balanced debate, not Hargreaves’ diatribes

What an arrogant, pompous rant from that publicity-seeking man Peter Hargreaves (Money Marketing, October 10).

In an attack on everyone from IFAs to banks, he rather oddly comments about the “negative returns” that structured products maturing in October will show.

Structured products are not right for everyone but with the appropriate risk warnings, they have a place for many investors, just like other types of investment products. The returns from some of these plans over the years have without doubt been higher than many of the appalling returns from some high profile investment managers.

There is room for a balanced debate about these types of investments but his article encouraged nothing of the sort. He shows his obvious contempt and disrespect for anyone not sharing his view and says that “people should sue the incompetent advisers who sold them”. This from a man whose company was saying that UK equity income funds were “good value” in August. Great tip there, guys. I would be sitting on around a 20 per cent loss now if I had taken that advice. Should they sue you too?

To be fair, I would not knock them for saying that because no one could have predicted the unprecedented, once-in-a-lifetime events since then, not the professional fund managers, not the major insurance companies, nor the IFAs who recommended Lehman-backed structured products.

If we really want to show our integrity as a profession – far more than any RDR or TCF initative – then we should have an industrywide levy to compensate these investors, not because they are legally entitled to anything but to maintain investor confidence when a multi-billion-pound investment bank collapses.

These are truly awful times for all IFAs and we should be supporting each other and pulling together, not trying to gain cheap publicity by attacking other advisers. Peter Hargreaves has been around a long time and he is entitled to his views, however misguided and factually incorrect they are, but to openly encourage people to sue advisers was a shameful remark and completely out of order.

Michael Nichols

Wallace Nichols Financial Services

Southsea

Hampshire

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