2007: The Hunting Party – Shepard
The financial services industry has a poor reputation I admit. In the 1990’s it was quite common for me to come across people that had been mis-sold policies and this left me and those that I worked with at the time somewhat vitriolic in our distaste for others in the “industry”, we saw ourselves as the good guys in a fight to help people get decent financial products. My view was that most advisers were liars, cheats and thieves. Since then a few things have changed. Most importantly, I have altered, I have matured and have also been able to see my own short-comings. This, I am told is how it is.. the more you know, the more you know you don’t know. Back in the 1990’s I was still selling products like almost all other “advisers” at the time. I still don’t believe anyone was disadvantaged, but with the benefit of experience, I can say that things could have been better. Hence in 1999 when I started my own firm, things would be very different. They were. I was better at my job and charged less for doing it (eh?) I was vastly more efficient (funny how running your own small business does that), clients were better off, the products were better. Turning up to training seminars, I was still seething at the way many “advisers” operated on a commission basis still (the car park told its own story) and whilst I came across fewer examples of mis-selling, was of the opinion that it was still a product driven industry full of crooks.
It wasn’t until I joined the IFP and began what I would now call proper financial planning, that I found my own attitudes changing towards other advisers. Finally it seemed that we could work collaboratively, seek out each others help and experience. I was also aware that some of them are actually really rather clever and very good advisers, not to mention holding high standards of practice and ethics. Over the last 5 years or so, I have had renewed faith in my own industry, with a real sense that advisers and their advice (and how they charge for it) has been improving dramatically. I had been wrong about many of them. The new RDR rules have helped this process too, catching far more advisers up in the transition to decency than would otherwise have happened, left to their own devices. Ok, I still meet some that simply don’t get it and fail to or lack the ability to think, but this is rarer than it was. Most are engaged with the change.
So it particularly grates on me when clients are hassled by people from claims companies attempting to get them to complain about PPI. I have had two clients in the last 2 weeks double check with me (having been hassled to the point that they thought it wise to do so) that they have not got PPI (they hadn’t). The claims “adviser” was adamant that they had a valid claim and had exerted considerable pressure to get them to appoint him to make a claim on their behalf. Let me be clear. These claims consultants are ruining what remains of any faith in financial services. They are scoundrels. They have broken the data protection laws in obtaining information about people, they have then lied about what they know, and lied about what they charge for their “service”. They are exactly the sort of people that mis-sold PPI, which for the record does not include me. They are wasting vast amounts of time and money, chasing claims that do not exist, making false promises and in it only for themselves. Much like the deer that sought out and attacked my dog (without provocation) as we walked in Richmond Park this morning, these claims consultants will meet with the same short sharp response from me….”go away!”.
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