James Coney  

Time to explain the grim reality to clients

James Coney

James Coney

You have got the Zoom calls working properly, you have diversified your clients, so while the realisation sinks in that we are stuck with this virus for a while yet, you might as well start talking about the crippling impact of a world with low rates.

Health advice

It filled me with no glee to report that Wellesley Financial looked like it was going bust and that administrators were warning 12,000 customers may get nothing.

In February, one of my reporters revealed that the company was in financial peril. It was the kind of story that looks like not a lot, but actually takes a huge amount of skill, diligence and legal assistance to get over the line. 

We had been worrying about Wellesley for a while, largely because its adverts, while not breaking any rules, did not half make it sound like this was a straightforward savings plan, when really it was no more than a mini-bond.

I know some advisers reported the company to the Advertising Standards Agency, but got nowhere. What we wanted to do was warn readers about the genuine risks of some of its products.

In the end coronavirus killed off Wellesley, because so much of the business was focused on property. 

But it has left us all asking yet again, where was the Financial Conduct Authority? Picking your way through the Wellesley accounts was painful; investors in its products did not stand a chance.

It really should not be so hard for savers to get proper information about the financial health of the products they are invested in.

Party’s over

A little bird tells me one leading advice business is hoping to use the latest lockdown as a good opportunity to kill off its annual awards bash.

The firm’s overseas trips and sales culture have been looking increasingly incongruous, but stubborn bosses did not want to axe them in the face of media criticism.

Now the annual jolly can disappear quietly.

James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times