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MSE News: Cash Isa providers 'failing' to give accurate advice

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MSE News: Cash Isa providers 'failing' to give accurate advice

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in ISAs & Tax-free Savings
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MSE_GuyMSE_Guy MSE Staff
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in ISAs & Tax-free Savings
This is the discussion thread for the following MSE News Story:

"Consumer group Which? found just three out of 104 calls resulted in firms giving 100% correct information ..."

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  • Paul_HerringPaul_Herring Forumite
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    Since when have cash ISA providers even "given advice?"

    Failed to "answer questions correctly" might be more accurate. And a list of the questions asked of the providers might have been useful in the article.

    Typically the questions weren't listed in the original article either.

    Basically this boils down to the usual "bank staff, on the whole, don't know what their employer does" non-story.
  • Ken68Ken68 Forumite
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    I had this happen this morning in Nationwide. Enquiring about ISA totals I was recommended to use up my Equity ISA's. Young lad didn't know they charged commission and expenses.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    Banks have given out poor quality information on cash ISAs for years. It is correct to highlight that point. However, they do not provide advice unless you use an adviser. Most of the time its a bank clerk with limited training and knowledge giving out information only.
    And a list of the questions asked of the providers might have been useful in the article.

    Which? are very good at that. I recall a mystery shop they did a couple of years back where they went on to say that x number of advisers didnt meet standards. Yet it turned out that they were classing spelling mistakes as a failure and it was their desired standard and not a regulatory standard they were using as a measure. None of that was in the initial press release but got leaked later.
    Enquiring about ISA totals I was recommended to use up my Equity ISA's. Young lad didn't know they charged commission and expenses.

    So do cash ISAs. The difference is explicit charging vs implicit charging and you really wouldnt want to send a young unqualified bank clerk down that conversation. ;)
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Ken68Ken68 Forumite
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    Wow, Dunstonh, had to look that up.

    http://www.blurtit.com/q258456.html

    Over my head.
  • edited 23 February 2011 at 10:24PM
    AirlieBirdAirlieBird Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2011 at 10:24PM
    According to the Guardian the questions were
    How do I transfer my Isa?;
    Are there rules on how much I can transfer?;
    Can I leave some money with you and transfer the rest to a different Isa?;
    Can I transfer my cash Isa to a stocks and shares Isa?

    It'd be interesting to see how Which? marked the third question since this is dependent on the bank's/BS's own T&C.
    Did you really mean to put loose?
    Lose: no longer possess, not to retain, unable to find
    Loose: not firmly or tightly fixed in place
  • edited 23 February 2011 at 8:36PM
    ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2011 at 8:36PM
    Ken68 wrote: »
    Wow, Dunstonh, had to look that up.
    http://www.blurtit.com/q258456.html
    Over my head.

    I think it might mean that the bank could love you (implicit cost) instead of paying interest (explicit cost). :laugh:
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • ConsumeristConsumerist Forumite
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    AirlieBird wrote: »
    It'd be interesting to see how Which? marked the third question since this is dependent on the bank's/BS's own T&C.

    It also depends on whether the ISA is the one being subscribed to in the current tax year or not.
    >:)Warning: In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    AirlieBird wrote: »
    The questions were
    How do I transfer my Isa?;
    Are there rules on how much I can transfer?;
    Can I leave some money with you and transfer the rest to a different Isa?;
    Can I transfer my cash Isa to a stocks and shares Isa?

    It'd be interesting to see how Which? marked the third question since this is dependent on the bank's/BS's own T&C.

    That third one is a tricky one for the banks as the non-regulated staff are usually exlicitly banned from talking S&S ISAs and I can imagine that most staff would avoid answering it or tell the person they would need to speak to someone else (who is authorised). Plus, as most banks are tied agents, they may not allow cash ISA transfers to their S&S ISA. So, their authorisations could lead to them saying NO when generically it would be YES.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • edited 23 February 2011 at 9:00PM
    Paul_HerringPaul_Herring Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2011 at 9:00PM
    AirlieBird wrote: »
    The questions were
    And your source for this information?
    How do I transfer my Isa?;
    As the source or destination bank? The answer will differ. See next question for why "You can't" could be a perfectly correct answer.
    Are there rules on how much I can transfer?;
    At first blush, a silly question, since the T&C's of the destination bank will typically override any that HMRC have. For example "Yes, you can't" would be a perfectly valid answer if asking about a specific product that didn't accept transfers. Or "you can't for X months" for a term ISA.
    Can I leave some money with you and transfer the rest to a different Isa?;
    Again, T&C's may play a part in the answer. HMRC will allow partial transfers of any portion of previous years' contributions (but not the current years',) the banks themselves may not allow partial transfers out.
    Can I transfer my cash Isa to a stocks and shares Isa?

    It'd be interesting to see how Which? marked the third question since this is dependent on the bank's/BS's own T&C.
    As is the first. And the second.

    I got the vague impression that there were more than four questions, but only four were asked of each bank. And in isolation, the questions presented above can have more than one correct, and possibly contradictory, answer.

    I'm sure the only acceptable answers, for Which?, however would be:

    1) Ask the destination bank to initiate the transfer.
    2) No.
    3) Yes for previous years' contributions, not for this year's.
    4) Yes.

    And any deviation from the above would be 'marked' wrong judging from DH's reply up at #4
  • edited 23 February 2011 at 10:15PM
    AirlieBirdAirlieBird Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2011 at 10:15PM
    And your source for this information?
    Sorry, yes, I should have put my source in...

    'Twas the Guardian
    Did you really mean to put loose?
    Lose: no longer possess, not to retain, unable to find
    Loose: not firmly or tightly fixed in place
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