Bank advisers lacking in ISA transfer knowledge

Posted on February 26th, 2011 | Categories - News

Some banks fail to give ISA customers the proper advice on moving their money.

A mystery shopper style investigation has revealed that some high street banks do not have enough knowledge on cash ISA transfers.

The quality of advice on cash ISAs provided by banks and building societies is shockingly poor, according to a consumer website study.

Which? Money carried out an investigation on the level of advice lenders provide to customers who want to know more about ISA transfer rules. Thirteen of the top ISA providers were called by a selection of mystery shoppers who asked them four simple questions, such as ‘how do I transfer my ISA?’ and ‘how much can I transfer?’

The worst bank was found to be HSBC, which scored an overall score of just 32%. The Royal Bank of Scotland fared slightly better with a score of 35% and The Co-operative Bank and First Direct scored 38%.

Conflicting and incorrect information on how much money customers could transfer was given by 97% of the advisers. Just over two fifths of advisers did not know that money could be moved from one type of ISA to another.

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: “We were genuinely shocked by this Isa investigation. Cash Isa transfer rules aren’t that complicated and cash Isas have been around since 1999 – surely 12 years is long enough to learn the rules?”

He added: “We last looked at Isa transfers seven years ago; how disappointing that training for staff doesn’t seem to have improved since then. Surely banks and building societies have the resources to ensure their frontline staff are properly trained?”

However, the banks at the top of the rankings scored much higher. Nationwide answered 69% of questions correctly followed by Barclays and Yorkshire Building Society at 63% and Santander at 60%.