Financial Harm and Victimisation

Tombs, Steve (2016). Financial Harm and Victimisation. In: Corteen, Karen; Morley, Sharon; Taylor, Paul and Turner, Joanne eds. A Companion to Crime, Harm and Victimisation. Companions in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 80–81.



In the past 30 years, consumers of financial services firms have been victims of three major waves of offences in the UK. First, the gradual withdrawal of the Conservative government from pension provision, coupled with deregulation of the retail financial services sector in the latter half of the 1980s, created the conditions for a wave of pensions mis-selling. Companies launcehed into a hard sell, wrongly advising many clients to cash in their existing pensions contributions and transfer them to new, private schemes about which they received false information. One survey conducted by the Securities and Investments Board found that only 9% of pensions companies had complied with legal requirements when originally advising on these pensions transfers. Meanwhile, although breaches had first been uncovered in 1990, a KPMG survey of pensions advice given during 1991-93 revealed that in "four out of five cases", pensions companies were still giving advice short of legal standards (Slapper and Tombs, 1999, p 63). Early in 1998, the then new regulatory body, the Financial Services Authority (since 2012, the Financial Conduct Authority), estimated the final costs of mis-selling as around £11 billion, with some 2.4 million victims.

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