Simoney Kyriakou 

On PI, the long stop and those chancing claimants

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

Some days it just isn't worth chewing through the leather straps.

I should really just lie back and let the nice nurse give me my pills and enjoy counting the padded panes that line the room.

The trouble is, I'm not sure I'm the one that needs to be incarcerated for my own safety, though those of you who know me might disagree. 

Behind this conclusion lies many factors, not least the perpetual question 'what was the client thinking?'. The more Financial Ombudsman Service decisions I read in which a client claims mis-advice or mis-selling 10,15, 20 and now even 29 years down the line, the more I wonder at people's intelligence. 

PT Barnum said 'There's a sucker born every minute' and I have to think this applies in financial as well as other matters. Who in their right mind would insist on giving up their gold-plated pension despite advice to the contrary, just to buy a conservatory?

Who would be dense enough to fall for a glossy brochure scam when there has been so much publicity, on TV and elsewhere, about investment scams? 

Just this week I read of someone who should know better talking about having lost his savings in a big banking collapse, and in the same breath stating he was happy to keep his money invested in a fund manager who is going through a protracted period of poor performance.

It's like watching a one-armed former lion tamer insisting his new job feeding alligators is far less risky.

But when the loss comes, as it usually does, it is always someone else's fault: the adviser, usually, or the investment manager or someone else. 

And it's the industry that has to make it crystal-clear in 32-page documents all the ins and outs, terms and conditions, possible scenarios and outcomes, just to protect itself, when everyone knows the client or consumer simply isn't going to read any of this. 

No, it's far easier to find someone else to blame when the investment scheme in Brazilian Rainforest Carbon Credit Office Buy-to-Let with 30 per cent guaranteed return actually turns out to be a scam. 

The only thing keeping the oxygen-deprived chancers at bay is the thin black line of professional indemnity cover, which is getting thinner every renewal date.

Legislation must be made for a long-stop soon or it will be feeding time at the circus, with advisers on the menu. 

I think I need a lie down.

simoney.kyriakou@ft.com