View more on these topics

The long good buy

“You are Ron Sandler, private eye?” asked the man with the accent from Scotland, which they tell me is near England.

As it said that in nine-inch gold lettering on the office door, I didn&#39t deny it.

“The man who cleaned up Lloyd&#39s of London?”

I guess he got that out of Who&#39s Who.

“I&#39ve a job for you – fifty a day plus expenses. Lift the lid on the retail financial services sector. Find the dirt and dish it.”

It sounded like the job I&#39d dreamed of – enough cash to pay for that little place on the beach. With a bit over for the bourbon (and other chocolate biscuits).

The evidence was all there sitting in rows waiting to be gathered. They all had previous, even if some didn&#39t have convictions.

The DA was from out on the east side, from the sort of office which has art works in reception. He was called Davies – a Manchester City kinda guy. I gave him the lowdown. “We need a bust. Round up the usual suspects. Kick ass. Give them something to remember us by.”

He replied: “Not without the chance to make representations over a three-month consultation period, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act. There is, of course, a statutory appeals procedure in particular cases.”

I saw this was not going to be my usual assignment. I could see fifties a day stretching to the crack of doom – or next summer, whichever came first.

I had been told to look at the IFAs. They were small, they were fragmented, they were isolated, they were put-upon. Trouble was, no one had told their clients. So their business just kept growing and complaints about them just kept falling.

I met one, I met another and another. They were all different. But they all liked talking. I should have held out for a hundred a day.

I asked questions, the kind of questions a man like me has to ask about remuneration and experience. I got answers – hundreds of them – the good, the bad and the incoherent. But they all were different.

If there was an answer, they were keeping it to themselves. Maybe there wasn&#39t an answer. Maybe there were too many answers.

So I asked an actuary to tell me about with-profits. It seemed like days passed. In fact, days did pass and I was still only on fifty a day. It was all about smoothing but I still never got to find out what smoothing was.

He gave me a book to read – the proceedings of the Institute of Actuaries and a consumer guide from the ABI. I used them to prop open the sash window after the cord broke when a client from 42nd tried to strangle me.

I went down to the little bar on Main and talked to a blonde drinking whisky sour. She was what they call a consumer. She and her IFA were close – real close.

“He does all the boring bits so I can get on with the interesting bits of my life,” she told me. I could imagine them. I could dream of them. But I couldn&#39t dream of fact-finds.

If the blonde was a victim, then she didn&#39t know and she didn&#39t care.

I called the provider helpline. I listened to Vivaldi, then I listened to more Vivaldi. This was going to be one tough assignment.

I would never see any of them again – except the FSA. No way has been invented to say goodbye to them.


FSA adding fund data to comparative tables

The FSA is to expand its comparative tables to include unit trusts and Oeics in February but has ruled out the inclusion of investment trusts before October 2002.The upgraded website is also set to include a new ethical fund filter, which will allow investors to filter out non-ethical funds in the UK all companies sector. […]

MCCB ready to work with FSA

The MCCB says it welcome&#39s the Treasury&#39s decision that the FSA will regulate mortgage advice from 2004.It says this move towards statutory regulation has been facilitated by its won work in establishing the first register of intermediary and lender firms active in the mortgage industry and its policies to improve training standards.MCCB chief executive Luke […]

Pharmaceutical giant to follow Unilever to Merrill Lynch

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is set to be the next company to demand compensation from Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, for the poor performance of its pension fund in the 1990s.The news follows the recent eight week court battle by multi-national conglomerate Unilever against MLIM, which eventually saw the two settle out of court for a reputed […]

Genesis – Planet & Moons Earth Fixed 85 Per Cent

Monday, December 17, 2001.Fixed term: Until January 1, 2003.Fixed rate: 6.99 per cent.Minimum loan: £35,000.Maximum loan: Up to 85 per cent of valuation subject to a maximumof £200,000.Income multiples: 3.5 times principal income plus second or threetimes joint.Arrangement fee: £395.Redemption fee: 6 per cent of amount repaid in years one and two, 5per cent in […]

Neptune launches Japan Institutional Fund

By Chris Taylor, Investment Director, Head of Research Neptune is excited to announce the launch of the Japan Institutional Fund on 22 June, having disclosed to the market in March its intention to offer the product. The Fund will be managed by the highly-regarded Chris Taylor, Head of Research and manager of the long-running Japan Opportunities Fund. It will invest in the same underlying stocks as the Japan […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm