Investment Complaints

The virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude. Francis Bacon

The UK now has a fairly rigorous system to protect investors against losing money through bad management or unscrupulous dealing by an investment provider or adviser. But no system can totally protect you: some incompetents may slip through, the really determined fraudster can find ways around the rules, and sometimes perfectly genuine mistakes happen. So there is always the possibility that the investment products that you buy, or the service that you get, will be in some way faulty. For example, you might suspect that you were given less than sound investment advice, you might not be getting the documents or regular investment reviews that you think you should have, or in the worst event the firm to which you entrusted your savings might go bust.

WARNING No investor protection system is designed to

protect you from the risks inherent in the investments themselves. I t should ensure that you are adequately informed of the risks and not deliberately or negligently advised to take an unsuitable course of action. But ultimately, if you choose to invest in, say, shares, you must accept the risk that the amount of your investment might fall rather than rise, and not expect compensation if losses result.

What can you do if you think you have a legitimate grievance against an investment company or adviser? In most cases, there are formal steps that you can take to try to get your problem resolved, and in the last resort you may be covered by a compensation scheme. But before invoking a formal complaints procedure, you should take up the matter with the company concerned.

TIP - Complaints procedures, particularly once you've exhausted those of the company concerned, can seem complicated and even daunting. But you should be signposted, at each stage, to the steps you can take next - you don't need a grasp of the whole system at once.

Going Direct To A Company

Who they are Many life insurance and unit trust companies are happy to deal with you direct, though if you do this some companies will pass your name on to an adviser for you to deal through.

What they offer Obviously, they will try to sell you their own products, so you should deal direct with a company only if you know exactly what you want or are happy to invest in just that company's products. Their services may include advice about the relative merits of their products and whether they are suitable for you, general information about financial markets, retirement planning services,... see: Going Direct To A Company

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