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Which? claims 74% of advisers fail their clients

Only a quarter of advisers are giving correct advice, while several banks have been named and shamed for either misselling products or claiming to be multi-tied when they are not, says Which?

Mystery shopping by the consumer body into the pension and protection advice markets found that IFAs performed best but only 34 per cent passed what Which? describes as the “benchmark for good advice”.

Just 26 per cent of all financial advisers of the total of 57 visited met the grade.

Common mistakes incl- uded non-disclosure of key facts on costs, inadequate fact-finds and failure to discuss benefit entitlements. Others did not assess attitude to investment risk on pension sales.

Which? also claims Abbey missold two protection policies after it recommended a payment protection plan when an income protection policy was more appropriate for long-term sickness.

The research reveals that a Bradford & Bingley adviser claimed that he was free to choose which protection provider to use despite being tied to Legal & General while advisers at HSBC and Hali- fax were both said to have claimed that they offer protection from a range of advisers when they are single-tied.

Personal Finance Society public affairs director John Ellis says: “We are getting a lot of information which shows failings by the mar- ket. Some people need educating.”

Abbey, B&B, Halifax and HSBC stress that they have strict procedures to ensure correct products are sold.

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