Banks are likely to 'continue to hide' their charges leaving independent and restricted whole of market advisers at a disadvantage, said the director of Wingate Financial Planning.
Alistair Cunningham (pictured) said that his concerns were the result of the banks "very poor record" on transparency in the past.
He explained that some banks continue to blatantly mislead in some areas: "Several banks continue to offer ‘commission free currency' for example, while buying it for €1.10 and selling it for €1.30."
He also gave anecdotal evidence of banks telling customers (following the Retail Distribution Review deadline) that their financial advice is free.
He said: "It's not clear whether this misleading is deliberate or the result of negligence or ignorance, but banks have a very poor record on transparency.
"Independent advisers on the other hand now have to be completely transparent and this potentially puts them at a disadvantage to the banks and other companies with direct sales forces.
"In my view there are two ways in which banks are likely to hide their full charges. They might give very cheap upfront advice and declare this; but then make the product or ongoing administration very expensive.
"Second, they might declare their upfront costs but then leave out the cost of the investment wrapper or the investment charge. However, independent advisers would tend to give a bundled charge up front."
Cunningham explained that although the first of these methods will be frowned upon by the FSA which has disallowed cross subsidy, in practice it will be very difficult to prevent.
"Ideally, there would be regulation stating that banks and other direct sales forces should provide a generic indication of overall cost upfront - then be specific after the first possible opportunity. This is unlikely to happen though and, again, even if it did it would be difficult to enforce."
He explained that he thought the only solution would be to educate clients and potential customers on the way different institutions are likely to present their charges.
"Clients will be beholden to the ethics of the bank. They need to be extra vigilant," he added.
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