Independent advisers explain their clients' close shaves with banks, and how they saved the day...
Despite being targets for public vitriol, banks still benefit from the custom of hundreds of thousands of customers who appear to believe their products are cheaper and more suited to their needs than those on offer elsewhere.
But, in more instances than we care to remember, these same consumers then get stuck with unsuitable products (PPI anyone?).
Luckily, financial advisers are always on hand to tidy up the mess. Here, three advisers explain how they did exactly that...
To the rescue: When advisers clean up banks' mess
Yvonne Goodwin, director of Yvonne Goodwin Wealth Management, highlighted a prime example of mis-selling.
"I had a client who was 78 and had Alzheimer's, coming to the end of a fixed-term deposit with his bank," said Goodwin. "The bank then signed him to a bond which charged a penalty if you exited within five years.
"My client told the bank adviser that he suffered from Alzheimer's. Nobody knew when he would no longer be able to make his own financial decisions and so, given the life of the product, it was inappropriate.
"Afterwards he realised the product did not meet his needs, and we managed to cancel it."
Paul Richardson, managing director of Concept Financial Planning, said one client's bank moved his money without consent.
"An elderly client had a six-figure sum in his account," said Richardson. "He needed instant access to that cash because he was using the money to pay his care home fees.
"The bank moved it to a 12 month deposit account without telling him. When I contacted the bank, the staff claimed the client had transferred the money over the phone, but I knew they would have needed a signature.
"Next the care home workers phoned, saying a bank adviser had arrived with paperwork asking to see the client. I told them to tell the adviser the client was not available. After that the bank transferred the money back into his current account."
Richardson said life planning is not necessarily a given with bank advisers.
"A retired client was struggling to live and was, as a result, building up credit card debt," he said.
"He had only been paying off the minimum each month. His bank adviser noticed the monthly payments and then sold him a loan consolidating his debt.
"It was a joint loan in his and his wife's name, but his wife had little income of her own as they were living on his state pension. When he died, his wife was left liable for all of the debt, but if it had been left on credit cards, the debt would have died with him.
"The bank had taken no account of how the debt would be paid off if he died and the widow was distraught. By that point all we could do was negotiate her monthly payments to about 50p a week so she could afford it. She will not have paid it off until she is 147."
David Fyfe, founder of Fyfe Financial, said his client felt she had taken a complaint as far as she could when she enlisted his services.
"The client complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) about her bank and the FOS had ruled against the bank," said Fyfe.
"She had taken her portfolio to the bank, and the adviser there had cashed it and reinvested it in new products.
"The FOS ruled against the bank because she had made a loss of £7,000 due to the bank's advice, but the bank claimed she had actually made a £9,000 gain and refused to pay the compensation.
"The bank had actually calculated her fund performance wrong, and had deducted annual management charges from her funds despite having already been paid these via cheque.
"It took us ten months, but eventually we got the bank to pay the client her compensation."
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