The chairman of The Claims Bureau has slated the FCA and HM Treasury for failing to feature claims management firms on the expert panel for the Financial Advice Market Review saying “We have the eagles and wolves on the panel, what about the sheep and the turkeys?”
Peter O’Donnell, chairman of Sussex-based The Claims Bureau, said claims management companies play an important role in representing retail clients to complain about misbehaviour of regulated financial services companies and advisers.
He said he was unhappy to see his industry expertise had not been called upon and none of his peers feature on the Financial Advice Market Review expert panel, whose line-up was announced yesterday.
The expert advisory panel will be led by Nick Prettejohn, chairman of Scottish Widows Group, and is dominated by providers despite the fact the Financial Advice Market Review is supposed to focus on barriers preventing advisers from helping the masses.
Andy Briggs, chief executive of Aviva, Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of retail and business banking at Barclays, Chris Rhodes, group retail director of Nationwide, Nicky McCabe, head of investment trusts at Fidelity, Nick Hungerford, chief executive of discretionary investment manager Nutmeg, Jackie Noakes, managing director of L&G mature savings, and Richard Rowney, managing director of LV Life and Pensions, are the representatives from providers who make up the bulk of the panel.
From the world of financial advice there is just Gill Cardy, former Financial Adviser columnist and now insight consultant for wealth at Defaqto, Richard Freeman, chief executive of Intrinsic, Robin Keyte, a director of Keyte Chartered Financial Planners and member of the FCA’s Smaller Business Practitioner Panel, and Ian Gorham, chief executive of Hargreaves Lansdown.
The panel also features consumer champions Gillian Guy, chief executive of the Citizens Advice Bureau, Alex Neill, director of campaigns and communications at Which, Sue Lewis, chairman of the Financial Services Consumer Panel, and Tom Wright, chief executive of Age UK.
Mr O’Donnell said although there were some rogues in the CMC community, without his industry mis-sold financial products, especially PPI but also interest rate swaps and fraudulent occupational pension transfers, would remain unchallenged.
Mr O’Donnell said: “I am talking about billions of pounds of deliberately misappropriated funds where lenders, insurers, pension providers and advisers knew the regulations but chose to ignore them and relied on the government’s lack of interest or ability to correct.
“Most CMCs were the birth-child of the PPI debacle, however, because of the wind down in PPI payouts, they are directing their efforts at new financial mis-selling situations. Especially regulated pensions and residential mortgages. And goodness knows what else will be uncovered.
“Why then is there no representation (on the FAMR expert panel) of victims of mis-selling by the financial services sector? Who on the panel of advisers to the FCA have been victims or directly understand their plight?
“There is no association of victims of mis-selling but there is a significant number of organisations who successfully represent them - CMCs.”