Investment companies have been accused of repeatedly selling customer’s policies that they do not properly understand, according to Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Michel Barnier. The claim was made in Brussels*, as policy makers gathered to discuss the standards of information consumers are receiving regarding their purchases of financial products. This has caused a review of the standards relating to financial services within the UK.
Within the plans to raise the standards of advice, the commission has said that customers should have access to “honest, professional” advice when purchasing products. This will give companies the responsibility to provide this advice for customers, as getting them to purchase financial advice will “restrict their access to financial investments and their ability to make their own investment decisions”, according to Maggie Craig of the Association of British Insurers.
Under a separate plan, every company selling financial investment products would be required to provide customers with a ‘plain-speaking’ document that outlined all areas of the investment, explaining what risks and costs are associated with the plan they are purchasing.
The good news for our members is that here at Shepherds Friendly we have both bases covered. On the financial advice side of things we are happy to offer free advice to all, answering questions online within 60 minutes, through our partner financialadvice.co.uk. All questions are answered by professional financial advisors and share our ethos of committed, high levels of personal service.
Similarly we are pleased to announce that all of our products are accompanied by a key facts document, and have been now for many years. This document gives a comprehensive, policy related, insight into the investment, meaning customers gain a complete understanding of the plan. This information includes the aims, the commitment of the policy holder, the risks of the plan and projection rates, as well as much more useful information.
It makes us proud that we are able to offer anyone, and not just our members, this kind of service, allowing the chance for potential policy holders and those that already invest the opportunity to become properly and comprehensively informed about their plan.
*Financial Times July 3, 2012 8:37 pm