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Which? wants bank advice probe after mystery shop

Which? is calling on the FSA to investigate poor advice from bank advisers and wants the regulator to replace the “restricted advice” label with “sales representative”.

In its submission to the Treasury select committee’s RDR consultation, Which? says bank advisers have consistently performed poorly.

The submission says: “The FSA should commence a project examining the poor quality of this advice and take enforcement action against any bank found to be offering poor advice.

“In September 2006, 74 per cent of advisers failed to pass all our advice benchmarks (66 per cent of IFAs and 84 per cent of bank advisers) while in October 2007, 60 per cent failed to pass (52 per cent of IFAs and 68 per cent of bank advisers). In our April 2010 investigation into bank advice, 89 per cent of bank advisers failed to pass.”

Which? is also calling for the restricted adviser label to be replaced with “sales represen- tative” to ensure consumers know what type of advice they are getting.

It says: “In our mystery shopping exercise, 37 per cent of tied advisers gave misleading disclosures about services they were offering, implying that they could provide a bigger degree of choice than was the case.”

Fensham Howes director Giles Pidcock says: “Banks are the last companies that should look after a client’s money.”

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