Clients in limbo after Hornbuckle cuts complaining adviser

“There must be freedom to contract with those with whom you can maintain a relationship and, in providing the client with a reasonable range of responses, I think [Hornbuckle] probably are fulfilling their TCF requirements.

“Whether they have fulfilled their service requirements may be another question.”

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When FTAdviser described a similar situation to the regulator, a FCA spokesperson said: “Whilst product providers are entitled to work with whoever they choose, when taking such a decision they should consider what impact that might have on the end consumer and ensure that they are treated fairly.”

Ms North said she does not believe Hornbuckle’s decision treats her clients fairly. She cited three FCA stated client outcomes including “customers do not face unreasonable post-sale barriers imposed by firms to change product, switch provider, submit a claim or make a complaint”.

The clients say in the letter: “As a result of submitting a complaint, we are now being forced to choose to leave our adviser or else pay a hefty fee to switch provider, leaving us effectively stuck between a rock and a hard place. We do not feel we are being treated fairly.”

The clients now intend in pursuing the complaints via the Financial Ombudsman Service.