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HSBC to take responsibility for all NHFA customers
You may have seen reports in the media about the £10.5m fine HSBC received over inappropriate investment advice given to elderly NHFA customers.
In response to the fine, HSBC Bank plc Chief Executive Brian Robertson released the following statement:
"I fully accept that NHFA failed to give suitable financial advice to some of their customers. This should not have happened and I am profoundly sorry that it did. We have high values here at HSBC and this runs contrary to everything that we stand for. That is why when we suspected something was not right at NHFA, we took action. We advised the FSA of our findings and closed NHFA to new business on 1st July 2011."
After HSBC announced that it will take responsibility for all NHFA customers - including those from before HSBC bought the company in 2005, to ensure that customers are put at ease regarding possible poor investment advice that they may have been given by NHFA advisers, Mr Robertson further commented:
"We will take responsibility for all NHFA customers - including those from before HSBC bought the company in 2005 - to ensure that this issue is entirely resolved. It is only right and proper that we stand fully behind these customers. Many customers will be rightly concerned that they, or indeed their relatives, might not have received appropriate advice from NHFA, so we will certainly look at each complaint individually and sympathetically."
HSBC has already begun the process of writing to all customers of NHFA since April 2004. These customers should receive letters during the coming weeks advising them of the closure of the company. In addition, the letters will inform customers whether they have been identified as being part of the 2,485 individuals who may have been mis-sold investment bonds.
In all cases where inappropriate advice has been given by NHFA, HSBC will ensure that no-one is financially disadvantaged.
What should customers do now?
Customers of NHFA from April 2004 do not need to do anything. They will be contacted during the coming weeks to explain what will happen next.
We will review any complaints that relate to any activity of NHFA advisers prior to 1 April 2004 on a case by case basis. If you wish to file such a complaint you should either email NHFA@hsbc.com or write to the following address, giving as much detail as possible about the product and advice as well as the customer in question.
HSBC Bank Plc
Business Review Centre
49 Corn Street
Some background information about NHFA:
- NHFA advisers were not part of the HSBC sales team and they did not advise on any HSBC related products.
- Through a small network of advisers NHFA provided specialist independent advice to a small number of customers on structuring their finances to meet ongoing care costs. This advice was provided by utilising a range of product providers selected to meet the needs of these customers.
- In the majority of cases, sales were made through the customer's families or their representatives.
- Up until May 2010 NHFA was separately authorised and regulated by the FSA. Once NHFA became part of the HSBC UK Bank operations, and as part of the Bank's regular audit of its sales processes, HSBC found the advice given by some NHFA advisers was inappropriate. At this stage HSBC informed the FSA of its findings.