Which? researchers found just four of 37 branches gave good advice, while the remaining 33, or 89 per cent, recommended “inappropriate products without properly explaining the risks”, or failed to get even the “basics of good advice” right.
Which? says Lloyds TSB and Halifax performed no better than the rest, despite being bailed out with taxpayers’ money.
The investigation shows 21 of the 37 advisers recommended that the researchers put some of their money into capital-guaranteed products, with eight touting these plans as “no risk”.
Six advisers suggested an investment bond, failing to adequately explain the risks of the product.
Fourteen advisers failed to mention the Financial Services Compensation Scheme at all, with only one advising the researcher to split their savings between two institutions to avoid going over the £50,000 limit.
Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: “It is disappointing to see yet more evidence that the way many banks treat their customers hasn’t improved since our taxes were used to bail them out. Our research shows that consumers are being convinced to take out high risk products that they simply don’t understand.
“Banks and building societies need to make sure that their sales practices don’t exploit consumers by encouraging their staff to recommend inappropriate products.”