An Ipswich-based IFA this week staged a one-man protest against Chelsea Building Society for what he insists are 'misleading' claims about its investment products.
Peter Herd, of Essential IFA, believes high street institutions are getting away with claims about potential returns and he highlighted Chelsea Building Society's advertisement of an 18% return on its six-year Protected Capital Account.
He says rolling up the interest for the whole six-year term is "misleading" and adds the quoted maximum return of 60% is also unlikely to be achieved.
The account offers returns linked to the performance of the FTSE 100, although the building society claims it is a deposit account rather than a structured product.
During his protest, he collected almost 100 signatures, which he will present to his local MP, Ian Poulter.
Herd says: "Banks and building societies have been selling structured products for ten years and there has been a steady stream of complaints to the FSA about these types of products.
"Chelsea Building Society have taken this to new heights by advertising a type of structured product with a very large poster claiming 18% interest.
"What they've done is rolled up the interest as a hook to get people in when, in reality, in the small print it says 2.79% AER."
He adds it is the language often used in advertising structured products he objects to.
Herd is also concerned regulatory changes will lead to more consumers being lured by the promises of structured products on the high street.
He says: "I think RDR will give the banks and building societies a license to do even more of these sorts of products and do it under direct offer with no advice given.
"The FSA has had ten years to deal with these products and they say they are producing guidelines.
"They need to say what is wright or wrong and not leave it to guidelines every time, which can be open to interpretation."
Responding to Herd's complaints, Chelsea Building Society says: "All marketing materials are reviewed against the FSA's financial promotions criteria to be clear, fair and not misleading.
"We believe that these coupled with a robust sales process, ensure customers are fully informed before opening a Protected Capital Account."
It adds the 18% figure was quoted because the product was a term account, with interest being paid at the end of the term, and 18% gross was the minimum return.
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