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Taunton financial adviser speaks out about banking worries
1:00pm Friday 27th December 2013 in News
A FINANCIAL adviser says he has been contacted by clients who were offered inappropriate products by bank sales people.
Dave Penny, managing director of Taunton-based Invest Southwest, who resigned as a Lloyds TSB area manager in 2000, spoke after Lloyds was fined £28million for “serious failings” by encouraging staff to mis-sell financial products.
Mr Penny said: “The public declarations by some bank bosses that everything has been fixed aren’t borne out by what I’m seeing.
“I’m still getting cases where my own clients are continuing to be treated appallingly by their banks and I meet current bank staff who say the old heavy pressure to sell is still very much there.”
He cited the case of a woman who, this autumn, put £30,000 in her current account with a view to investing in the Stock Market and was phoned and incorrectly told the money could be at risk.
Another client was last year put under “sustained pressure” to move money from his current account into a riskier share-based investment, with phone calls and a home visit.
Mr Penny said an employee of another bank told him staff regularly inform clients that money in a current account may not be safe and would be better in a savings account.
Mr Penny said: “That’s a complete lie. Staff will say that cashpoint cards and debit cards are more liable to fraud, but if money is fraudulently taken from an account, the banks have to recompense the clients.
“There’s disgraceful mis-selling going on and it’s down to pressure management.
“Employees are being told they’ll lose their jobs if they don’t make sales.
“A supposedly strict compliance regime is meaningless if the management style is putting immense pressure on staff to sell, sell, sell. To keep their jobs, staff will always find ways around compliance.”
Mr Penny added that customers should think of banks as shops plugging their own products in the same way as people selling cars or double glazing.
He said: “Banks have every right to sell their products as long as it is not disguised as advice.”
A Lloyds spokesman said: “Some of the allegations date back a number of years and we do not endorse the behaviour that they allege.
“We have already made significant changes and we continue to review our processes and encourage our colleagues to talk to us if they do have any concerns.
“Currently, part of the bonus scheme is related to sales, but only a part.”
He added that Lloyds accepts the findings of a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into “historic systems and controls governing incentive schemes for branch advisers”, admitting “our oversight ... was inadequate” and apologising to customers.
Anyone who may have been mis-sold a financial product by their bank can call Mr Penny on 01823-353970 or write to Invest Southwest, 49/50 East Street, Taunton TA1 3NA.
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