30th October 2002
Today I receive a response from company “B” (dated 28th October) which is “pp’ed” on behalf of the Compliance and Quality Control Director. In summary the letter contains the following key points:
It says that prior to April 1988, when the Financial Services Act came into force, there were no regulatory bodies controlling the advising or monitoring the selling of investment contracts.
Economic conditions have changed since I was old my policy, and the changes in projected growth rates will have a big impact on the maturity values of policies.
The 1980’s were a buoyant time, investment rates have fallen since then. This has affected “the investment performance of your policy” (no kidding!), and is an industry wide phenomena.
The information that I have received from my assurance company show a “potential” shortfall (so this is a fuss over nothing?).
In 1995 company “B” de-authorised their consultants, therefore they are neither authorised or registered to carry out a review.
I have the right to take the matter further (very kind of them!), but as far as the author of the letter is aware the Personal Investment Authority (they kindly have attached an address) only have a remit to investigate alleged mis-selling of policies taken out after April 1988.
Any documentation relating to the sale of my policy, being more than 6 years ago, has been destroyed.
So there I have it, “hard luck chum” there was no law in place at the time so we are “off the hook”.
My “off the cuff” opinion of the response from “B” can be summarised, but not limited, by the following points:
Hiding behind the implementation date of the Financial Services Act is a weasel way of avoiding the issue.
The policy was either sold properly or not, the timing of an Act does not change the fact of the situation.
Implying that the policy may in fact come back to profit over the next 10 years makes a mockery of the warning letters being sent out by life assurance companies, and indeed of the projected rates advised by the FSA.
By concentrating on the returns from investments over the last 10 years they try to avoid the key issue namely; whether the policy mis-sold or not.
The ball is now back in my court. I do not intend to be stonewalled in this manner. Over the next few days I will draft a letter to the relevant authority, as recommended by the endowment action website.