Which? has warned that some comparison websites could be encouraging investors to buy potentially risky structured products without taking financial advice.
It says uSwitch.com and Moneyfacts.co.uk have comparison tables featuring structured products which use labels such as “top deals” and “best buys” which could encourage consumers to invest without fully understanding the risks.
Which? Money senior resear-cher Cathy Neal says: “These are complicated products and, without specific advice, people might buy them when they are not right for them or they might not fully understand the risks.
“A lot of people who lost money when Lehman Brothers went bust did not realise their money was at risk so we think anyone taking out investments like these should get advice first.”
Moneyfacts.co.uk says: “Best buy charts or selections are not an invitation to purchase but only serve as a first port of call for consumers. They can then be used as a barometer when surveying the market and discussing with an adviser.”
uSwitch.com says consumers can request a call from an advi-ser and that every page on the investment section of the site warns consumers to take appropriate financial advice if they have any doubts.
John Joseph Financial Serv-ices principal John Joseph says: “Anybody investing money would be best served by seeking advice. If somebody goes it alone, they should not be surprised if they possibly go into the wrong investment.”