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Financial Advice

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will develop a system of generic financial advice for those on lower incomes. [119845]

The FSA tells me that it is currently working on its commitment to develop a comprehensive strategy to help consumers, including those on lower incomes, gain a better understanding of the financial services market place.This involves working with advice agencies, consumer groups, the industry and others, to establish the most effective ways to deliver financial information and generic advice.The FSA plans to consult widely as this work develops.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate has been made of the number of independent financial advisers whose independent status will be lost as a result of depolarisation. [119843]

How independent financial advisers chose to conduct and organise their business is a matter for them.The FSA have examined this issue carefully as part of their wider work on polarisation reform. They set out their views on the costs and benefits of reform in Appendix B of their Consultation Paper 166, published in January 2003. The FSA also published the report to them by National Economics Research Associates.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment has been made of the number of independent financial advisers who have been refused professional indemnity cover. [119846]

The FSA tell me that they do not collect data in this form. A firm may be denied cover by one insurer and subsequently obtain it from another, but that is a commercial matter between insurers and their clients.

What is important is that firms who should obtain PI cover do so, or otherwise address the issue, for example by obtaining a waiver.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints of mis-selling of (a) endowment policies and (b) other financial products by (i) tied agencies and (ii) independent financial advisers were made to the Financial Services Authority in (A) 2001, (B) 2002 and (C) 2003. [119847]

The Financial Services Authority, as regulator, makes rules for IFAs and for tied agents. These include rules designed to prevent mis-selling and rules that require regulated firms to follow specified complaints procedures. Where firms are unable to resolve complaints themselves, FSA rules require them to allow complainants to pursue their complaints with the Financial Ombudsman Service and to comply promptly with an ombudsman's decision.The Financial Ombudsman Service has provided the following figures for complaints it has handled in the last three financial years:

Mortgage endowment complaints
IFAsPercentage of totalTied agentsPercentage of totalTotal
2002–031,89813.9911,67286.0113,570
2001–022.31215.8412,28384,1614,595
2000–0119,067
1 Investment complaints prior to April 2001 were dealt with by the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Ombudsman Bureau, which did not record statistics that can be analysed in this way. However, across the range of investment related complaints in 2000–01, those against IFAs accounted for 13.9 per cent. of the total and tied agents 86.1 per cent.
Complaints about other investment-related products (personal pension plans, whole-of-life/non mortgage-linked endowments and other 'packaged' investment products)
IFAsPercentage of totalTied agentsPercentage of totalTotal
2002–033,11216.2416,04783.7619,159
2001–021,95215.7610,43484.2412,386
2000–0118,019
1 Investment complaints prior to April 2001 were dealt with by the Personal Investment Authority (PIA) Ombudsman Bureau, which did not record statistics that can be analysed in this way. However, across the range of investment related complaints in 2000–01, those against IFAs accounted for 13.9 per cent. of the total and tied agents 86.1 per cent.