Consumer group Which? has listed absolute return funds and task-based income protection cover among a list of 'financial products to avoid'.
Presenting the 13 products consumers should steer clear of, the organisation said absolute return funds, which aim to make investors a positive net return regardless of market conditions, were not achieving their aims.
"The concept has turned out to be too good to be true in many cases," it said.
It quoted FSA figures suggesting just over half of absolute return funds failed to make a positive return last year, while 33% failed to beat inflation in the year to 1 January 2012."
Meanwhile, Which? said task-based income protection cover policies were "not good enough" as payout decisions were based on policyholders were able to do a certain number of daily tasks, such as dressing themselves or walking a particular distance.
It added: "If you're buying income protection, always look for a policy that will pay out if you're unable to do your own job or a similar one."
Among the other products included in the list were over 50s plans, which it said "almost always leave you worse off if you take one out" and structured deposits, which were described as a "poor half-way house between saving and investing".
Which? also told consumers to avoid payment protection insurance, adding that anyone who has been mis-sold one of the policies in the past should also not employ a claims management company to get compensation.
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