Chief executive David Elms says it is impossible to verify if a review is genuine and he questions the site’s reliability.
Rubii.co.uk allows consumers to search through a database of regulated financial advisers, covering general financial planners and wealth managers to tax, pension, mortgage and investment specialists. They can arrange meetings with advisers and review their services. Advisers who get good reviews will feature in a prominent position on the site and in search results.
Elms says this type of approach does not work in prac- tice as there is no guarantee that the reviews have come from consumers. He says: “We have looked at a user-review-type ranking and I think it is a good idea in theory but it is very difficult to make it work. There is no way to ensure that only someone who has used the adviser can give them a ranking.
“You cannot guarantee that an adviser is not giving himself an overly high ranking or an adviser is not giving a competitor an overly negative ranking. These things can be done via proxy email addresses that are set up for only one purpose and are untraceable.”
Rubii.co.uk director Toby Goldblatt says he recognises the problem but claims he has built technology into the site to counter the problem. He says: “We have monitoring and reporting systems so if advisers object to a comment, we will remove it immediately and investigate it. I do not think advisers would sign up to write comments about themselves because they would have to pay for the lead and it would become an expensive and time-wasting exercise.”
Advisers will have to pay Rubii.co.uk a fee for any leads they get from having a listing on the site.