The BBC's Panorama Mortgage Timebomb programme is set to spark its own endowment scandal.
The Monday programme has been roundly criticised for its portrayal of IFAs and forconfusing the issue of churn-ing by rogue agents and a shortfall in endowment payments caused by economic conditions.
Now Absolute AssignedPolicies chief executive LeePortnoi predicts the programme will provoke a flood of surrendered endowments, losing out on terminal bonuses.
Portnoi estimates AAP alone will get 1,000 extra policies as consumers panic. He says: “It is one of the most disgraceful pieces of journalism I have come across. It confused misselling with shortfalls. We will receive an extra 800-1,000 policies this year as a consequence of theprogramme.”
Immediately following the programme, the Money Marketing offices were inundated with complaints from IFAs, echoed by trade bodies.
LIA chief executive Jeff Travers complained the impression was given of a major misselling scandal of endowments along the lines of pensions. He says: “They used scaremongeringtactics to convey the impression of a misselling scandal thatnever occurred.”
Zurich Financial Services is considering taking action against a former Allied Dunbar adviser who was secretly filmed for the programme. ZFS is angry the BBC would not allow it to view before transmission despite repeated requests. External affairs director Jeff Wagland says: “How could we give a reasoned view on a situation until we saw the film of what the salesman is alleged to have done?”
Legal & General was theonly lender which appeared on the programme. It is upset that Panorama left the positive side of endowments on the cutting-room floor.
Panorama admits that Ian MacQueen-Sims, the “mortgage actuary” featured , is not an actuary and was wrongly described.
IFA Kirkpatrick Chisholm & Co partner David Kirkpatrick says: “The 'experts' in the programme make their money out of rubbishing endowments.”
A Panorama spokeswoman says: “The programme was a balanced, fair and accurate depiction of some of the issues surrounding endowments.”