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Adviser hits back at cold-calling agencies

Andrew Oliver, co-director of Kent-based Andrew Oliver & Co, said he was “constantly” bombarded with cold-callers offering payment protection insurance compensation, free pension reviews, investments in carbon credits and overseas property developments.

He said: “I am sure these are all scams. My advice is not do business over the telephone, only deal face-to-face and, alas, I have to say, ‘buyer beware’. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

When asked what advisers could do to avoid being tarred with the same brush, he said the first thing was to avoid using lead generation companies as a source of business.

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He said: “Lead generation is, in my view, part of the sales/advise process and should be regulated – which it is not, currently.

“The financial adviser could be held responsible, however, for what is said by these companies to prospective clients. I wonder how many advisers check that out, because some of the approaches leave me concerned.

“For example, I was contacted by someone who said she was an IFA offering free pension reviews. I checked it out. Yeah, right. But how can the regulator police that?”

His comments come as an investigation by Financial Adviser into a lead generation company called Appointment-Gen revealed there were county court judgments totalling more than £4,000 from advisers over non-provision of leads.

According to the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, these judgements, brought by advisers including Andrew Smith, Harvey Mozer and Marc McGreevy remain “unsatisfied”.


A spokesman for the FCA said: “When cold-called, consumers should be sceptical. People should be particularly aware of high-risk, speculative investment schemes where the returns promised appear too good to be true. Authorised firms are unlikely to contact consumers out of the blue with investment opportunities. A legitimate company is also unlikely to use harassment, high-pressure sales tactics, or long and persistent phone calls.”

Tips on how to avoid scams can be found on the FCA’s website: