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NS&I withdraws performance claim after criticism

National Savings & Investments has withdrawn claims about the performance of its guaranteed equity bond from its press advertising following IFA criticism.

In a letter to Money Marketing, Aire Valley IFA Malcolm Guy branded the ad misleading because it claimed that the bond would “genuinely outperform any growth in the FTSE 100 index”.

Guy called on the FSA to take action against NS&I, claiming it would have acted in a heavy-handed way if the statement had been made by a financial institution in the private sector.

NS&I has now responded by removing the offending sentence from the ad.

A spokesman says although the NS&I does not strictly fall under the FSA remit because its liabilities are effectively Government liabilities, the ad does fall under its guidelines because the bond has a six-month averaging period.

He says: “The claim only appeared in our press ads but we have taken out the statement that mentions the word ‘genuinely’.

“Because we are a Government agency, being open and transparent is key to our brand and we do not want to be in a position where an advertisement could be misinterpreted. We have been going since 1861 and try to follow industry guidelines. We are signatories to the banking code and the financial ombudsman service and we follow the FSA handbook rules.”

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