When you undertake an investment, you hope that it is going to give you a good return. Most of us try to do our own due diligence and make sure what we are getting involved in is right for our needs. If you have been mis-sold an investment, however, you may be able to claim back the money you have put in and get compensation.
This doesn’t just mean if the investment has performed poorly – if the policy or scheme was sold and you were made aware of the potential risks, then you probably won’t have much cause for complaint. The financial regulation concerning investments such as ISAs or stocks and shares says that mis-selling has occurred when the scheme you have been given was misrepresented in some way or was unsuitable for your needs.
Explaining the Risks
You should ask yourself if your advisor explained all the risks to you properly. If you were unaware, for example, that you were likely to lose money because of investing in certain stocks and shares, then you may have a case for filing a claim. This might include the advisor telling you that you were guaranteed of making a profit, something which is rarely the case with any investment. There are always risks involved. Other companies have told customers that 100% of their money will be returned at least, which again is not always the case.
The Terms of the Investment
You may have been mis-sold an investment if the advisor didn’t explain how the product worked fully enough. That can include what charges the investment company make and how long the term is that you need to get a potentially good return. They may have misled you into believing you could access your money any time you want, when the opposite proved to be true. Another issue is that your money could well have been used for high risk investments without your consent.
Did Your Advisor Find Out About You?
Your investment company has a duty to find out if a particular investment is right for you. That means getting to know why you want to invest and what you want the outcome to be. You might want to build up some extra capital for your retirement, create a pot of money so your kids can go to a good school or something else in your future.
Your advisor should ask key questions about your current investments and what your views are if the chosen product proves to be unprofitable. They need to get to know you rather than merely selling you a set product.
Pressure selling can take many forms and can lead you to make an investment without considering all the potential risks. You might be told that you are guaranteed to make money or the advisor may be fixated on one product without offering any other options. They could have convinced you to move money from an existing investment to another with the promise of a better return that was unfounded. Some unscrupulous advisors may even push time-limited offers in order to get you to sign up.
It’s not just investment companies that have been guilty of mis-selling investments over the years. Banks and building societies have also been guilty of pressuring their staff into selling certain products that are not necessarily right for the individual. If you think you may have been mis-sold an investment, then it may be time to get your paperwork together and take a good hard look at what you have been sold.
If you have managed to save up some money or want to put part of your monthly salary away for the future and get a good return, there are numerous investment plans and opportunities available nowadays.
With any investment, you need to do your research first and make sure that it fits with what you want to achieve before you go ahead and give your money over. You should also be looking at investing for the long-term rather than hoping to achieve short term gains. With that in mind, here are our top choices for investing in 2017:
1. Switch to a High Interest Current Account
If you want your money available as and when you need it but also want to get some interest back, then a number of banks like Santander and Nationwide offer high interest accounts. You should only be going for this if you have a substantial amount in your account at the end of each month. Many of these offer interest rates of around 3% for balances over £1,500 to £2,500. Certain conditions do apply, however, and you may feel you may be better off putting a set amount of money away in a separate savings plan.
2. Use Your ISA Allowance
One of the most readily available and simple investment options is to open up an ISA. You are allowed to invest £15,240 a year currently in one of these packages. There are a number of different types to choose from including cash or stocks and shares ISAs. The good news is that you can split your allowance between a number of different products.
Cash ISAs are like normal savings accounts and you don’t pay tax on the interest you earn. The interest rate is normally set at a particular rate. Stocks and shares ISAs allow you to invest in particular funds and decide how much risk you want to take on. There are other products such as the Help to Buy ISAs that allows you to build equity to purchase a home. While interest rates and earnings from ISAs remain fairly low at the moment, the tax advantages and the potential for long-term investment still make them a decent and reasonably secure proposition.
3. Put Money Into Your Pension
Another option is to boost your pension for retirement. Adding in extra can mean you get a greater pot of money when you finally finish work. This is a good idea if you want to take the long view and don’t need to access your money until you have reached retirement age. You’ll have to decide whether your pension is the best vehicle to make the most of your money but it’s worth contacting your provider and working out the pros and cons.
4. Investing in Start Ups
If you have excess income and are looking for something that could have big returns but is a bit of a gamble then investing in new companies could be the way forward. There are a number of sites now that are designed to help new ideas get the funding they need to hit the market. If you invest in them you get to share in the success of the company. Of course, it’s not for the faint-hearted and you have to prepared to lose your money if the company doesn’t get off the ground.
5. Online Investing
The growth of online platforms that allow you to invest has been one of the major developments to come out of the financial industry in the last few years. Sites that give you more control of what you invest your money in can bring decent returns. Many assess what kind of investor you are and have plans ranging from cautious to the less risk adverse which means you can often earn more interest than with other investment options. Like any investment activity, of course, you should do thorough research and make sure you know what the risks are.