Financial Rights – Helping You Know Your Rights For Financial Products

It is very important to be aware of your rights when dealing with any kind of financial product or service. The actual rights you are entitled to will vary according to the product, but to make the most of them you will need to be aware of them in advance, as it may effect the decisions you make. Don’t wait until there is a problem to find out what your rights are!

In most case, your rights are stronger if you have taken advice before you make a commitment than if you did not. If you are negligently or fraudulently advised, you have some recourse to protection. If you did not take advice, then the responsibility is yours. If in doubt, take advice.

In general terms, you have a right to expect:

The firm to be financially sound and trustworthy
Advisors and salespeople who are competent and knowledgeable
Correct information on which to base your decision
A clear complaints procedure
Compensation if something goes wrong outside the normal risks of the product
In terms of specific products, the rights you are entitled to vary.

Banks and Saving Accounts

The FSA ensures that banks and building societies are financially sound. Banks and building societies abide by a voluntary banking code, which sets out standards for ensuring you get the information you need to make an informed decision and that you are treated fairly. They must help you if you wish to make a complaint by having internal procedures in place, and letting you know what they are. They must also belong to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Loans and Credit

Moneylenders such as bank and insurance companies are regulated by the FSA, who make sure they are sound and trustworthy. Other companies (such as loan companies) have to be licensed by the Office of Fair Trading. The Consumer Credit Act of 1974 ensures you have access to certain information. Loans from banks and building societies are covered by the voluntary banking code, which includes procedures for making a complaint.

There are other lenders who may not be covered by any regulation. If you have a complaint against one of these companies, you can contact your local Trading Standards Office, but your rights are much reduced.

If you buy goods or services worth more than 100 pounds using your credit card, the credit card company is jointly liable, along with the supplier, if the goods turn out to be faulty. They have a joint responsibility to put matters right.


Insurance companies are all regulated by the FSA. However, general insurance advisors need not have any particular license or training. Many, however, choose to subscribe to the General Insurance Standards Council (GISC), and you may prefer only to deal with GISC members. They have agreed to abide by the GISC General Insurance Code for Private Customers, which includes formal procedures for making a complaint.

Should an insurance company be unable to meet its commitments, then you may be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Life insurance policies, investments and personal pensions are all covered by the Financial Services and Markets Act, which ensures that all companies are trustworthy and competent. They must also have formal complaints procedures, give you suitable advice, and provide you with certain key information, both before and after you buy.


Nearly all mortgage lenders subscribe to a voluntary code, as described in more detail by The Mortgage Code Compliance Board, which also has a list of lenders who subscribe. This includes formal complaints procedures, and regulations ensuring you are being treated fairly and have the information you require to make informed decisions.

Lenders who abide by this code have agreed to only take customers from advisors who also abide by the code.


As has been famously covered in the media of late, pensions are a complex area and are not always the risk-free product they used to be. The decision as to what kind of pension to subscribe to is probably the most crucial financial decision you will make in your life.

The FSA publishes a whole series of guides to pension issues, which provide useful information on how to choose and maintain your pension effectively.

Tips on Buying Financial Products

We all want to protect ourselves, our income and our families. To ask someone if these are important is silly. The two most important questions surrounding financial products must be WHAT and WHEN.

I would like to give you my guide on what products to obtained and when you should obtain them. There is absolutely no need to buy all the products at one time. Take things in easy stages.

A Will: The first thing to do is write a Will. To do this you need to be over the age of 18 and you don’t need a solicitor. So this is the first thing you must do. Write a Will today and have two people witness that Will. You may not have a lot to put in the Will but you do have a body and probably a preference for burial or cremation. You may even have strong feelings about organ donation. Everyone should have a Will if they are over the age of 18.
A Trust: Put a Trust in the Will you have just written. You can start a pilot Trust with just 5. Everything you own can go in that trust and having one is a wonderful foundation for protecting your future wealth for your future family. This can be the start of your Inheritance Tax Planning.
Income protection: If you are working you should protect your income in case you become long term ill or are have an injury. That should go without saying. Many employers provide this free, in the form of six months full pay and six months half pay. If income protection is not part of your employment package then you need to address this shortfall quickly.
Critical Illness Cover: Once you have protected your income the next logical step is to protect your health. If you are unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a critical illness then this type of policy would provide you with either a lump sum or an income. Most people start with a policy which lasts until State Retirement Age. These policies have no surrender value and should be viewed as a life policy which pays out while you are still alive. You don’t need any life cover at this stage unless you have financial dependents such as elderly parents or relatives who are ill.
A Pension: It is a good idea to start funding for retirement as young as you can. Many employers will provide you with a pension paid for from deductions from your pay. If you want a bigger income in retirement than the one provided by your pension then a discussion with a financial adviser would be beneficial. Not funding for retirement is a folly. Sometimes, as with many public sector schemes, there is Death in Service benefits built into the pension. If this is the case it is a good idea to ask that the payout is made into the Trust within your Will. Remember the pilot trust above. This will reduce tax liability and speed up the payout. Instantly you should now see the benefit of writing the Will and starting the Trust.
Marriage and a Family: At this stage many people are thinking about getting married and starting a family. As far as protection is concerned the foundations have been laid and the first priority is a home. Protection is now for the family and not just for yourself.
Mortgages: If you are buying a home you will probably need a mortgage. There are only two types of mortgage, Repayment and Interest Only. Seek professional advice from an independent mortgage broker before choosing a mortgage. It may be difficult to explain why many first time buyers opt for repayment mortgages but many do. I would suggest that you opt for a mortgage which lasts until State Retirement Age and possibly discuss never completing your mortgage. It is always wise to seek advice.
Life Cover: You don’t need life cover for a mortgage. Many lenders force borrowers to have life cover to protect the loan, but it is not necessary. Life cover is there to protect a family and not a lender. As a rule of thumb the level of life cover should be about ten times your income. Don’t worry, it is cheap. Please try to avoid any form of joint policy and ensure that the policies are written in trust. Once again you would be wise to seek advice.
Investments: Once again, seek advice. Remember that your investments should match your attitude to risk. Try not to put all your eggs into one basket because spreading your investments over several investment options is lie spreading the risk. There is so much to choose from. Examples include bank accounts, buildings society accounts, bonds, ISA’s, Unit Trusts not yo forget pensions and property.
Please Remember: I would suggest that you should start you financial portfolio as soon as you leave school and begin with the writing of a Will which includes a pilot Trust. From there, protect yourself and your income. Take advice when choosing a mortgage and never buy a joint life policy. Make sure when investing that the products your choose match your attitude to risk. Always try to seek professional advice. It is usually free.
These are the personal preferences of the author and in no way represent the strategy of any particular financial institution. They are my personal preferences and should not be regarded as global recommendations. Each person’s financial requirements are specific and thus require a fact find to be carried out by a qualified and authorised adviser before any recommendations can be given.

Thank you for reading this article.

My name is Brian McHugh. My want to give people a strategy for buying financial products. I want to remove the fear of talking to a financial adviser. That is why my consultations are free. All of my consultations. To find out some of my secrets surrounding financial products please call me on 07763 102 543 or you can visit my web site on