Good advice or poor: the luck of the draw

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The Independent Online
PEOPLE seeking financial advice in the high street may receive sound advice from one representative of a bank, building society or insurance company but poor advice from another individual working elsewhere for the same company, writes Maria Scott.

The Consumers' Association sent researchers to 30 banks, building societies, insurance company representatives and independent financial advisers. The advisers were asked to recommend suitable investments for a man who had been made redundant with a pounds 25,000 pay-off. According to CA's magazine Which? the best advice would have been for him to put his money into a savings account until his employment situation was clear.

But of 28 advisers who made firm recommendations, 19 suggested investment bonds or personal equity plans (PEPs), both of which carry a risk of capital loss.

Which? did not publish a list of those who gave good advice, but this included representatives of some of those organisations that appeared on the black list. The difference was that the researchers had approached advisers in different offices.

Advisers given the all-clear by CA were NatWest Bank in Cardiff; a Royal Life representative in Northampton; Abbey Life, Leighton Buzzard; Alliance & Leicester, Hastings; Commercial Union, Northampton; General Accident, Hastings; Nationwide in Cardiff and Northampton, National & Provincial in Cardiff and the independent firm Towers Rockall in Northampton.

Several firms criticised disagreed strongly with the Which? report and said they would complain to CA.

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