Re­lief for savers as Atom of­fers 2.05pc

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Money - Adam Wil­liams

be­tween a more ex­pen­sive fully man­aged ser­vice, where in­vest­ments are switched reg­u­larly, or a cheaper op­tion un­der which port­fo­lios are switched once a year. Reg­u­lated ad­vice is pro­vided but, as is com­mon with robo ad­vis­ers, only on in­vest­ments. Mr Port said: “Cus­tomers don’t nec­es­sar­ily want ev­ery­thing in their lives to be re­viewed.”

An­thony Mor­row runs evestor, an­other robo ad­viser but one that pro­vides ad­vice across all as­pects of per­sonal fi­nance. Mr Mor­row said his firm turned away two thirds of peo­ple who tried to in­vest via its web­site. This could be be­cause they would be bet­ter served by their ex­ist­ing com­pany pen­sion or should spend spare cash pay­ing off a credit card, for ex­am­ple. “Ob­vi­ously that’s a com­mer­cial chal­lenge for us be­cause we’re turn­ing cus­tomers away, but those peo­ple shouldn’t be in­vest­ing,” he said.

Dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomers can take com­plaints to the Fi­nan­cial Om­buds­man Ser­vice, once they have been through a firm’s in­ter­nal com­plaints pro­ce­dure. The om­buds­man is able to or­der reg­u­lated firms to pay com­pen­sa­tion, in­clud­ing for dis­tress caused. How­ever, Mark Locke of the Lang Cat, an in­vest­ment con­sul­tancy, warned that pro­tec­tion could be lim­ited.

He said: “It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that the pro­tec­tion an in­vestor re­ceives through these propo­si­tions is lim­ited to the suit­abil­ity of the in­vest­ment only. They are not on the hook for the ac­tual prod­uct rec­om­men­da­tion.”

A spokesman for the om­buds­man said: “As usual we’ll con­sider the cir­cum­stances of the in­di­vid­ual case. The con­sid­er­a­tions will be dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on whether a con­sumer re­ceived guid­ance or ad­vice.” Hard-pressed savers will be hop­ing that the launch of a new mar­ketlead­ing ac­count will spark a rate war be­tween providers.

Atom Bank has leapt to the top of the sav­ings best-buy ta­bles with its one-year fixed-rate sav­ings bond pay­ing 2.05pc.

In­dus­try an­a­lyst Sav­ings Cham­pion said this was the high­est rate of­fered since Fe­bru­ary 2016.

How­ever, the ac­count will not be for ev­ery­one. Savers must open and man­age the ac­count on­line by down­load­ing Atom Bank’s smart­phone app, as the provider does not have any phys­i­cal branches or a tele­phone ser­vice.

Anna Bowes of Sav­ings Cham­pion said: “Al­though this bond won’t be for ev­ery­one, given that Atom is app-only, it is re­ally en­cour­ag­ing to see the bank push­ing re­turns on oneyear fixed-rate bonds back above 2pc.

“We hope that other providers will re­spond to this chal­lenge – push­ing rates up fur­ther still.”

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