Long and varied list of scandals
THE list of scandals involving financial advisers is long and varied - many of them stemming from a system which leads commission-hungry salesmen to sell inappropriate products.
The endowment mortgage mis-selling scandal is well documented and the controversy over so-called precipice bonds is still fresh in the minds of thousands of investors.
Last year the Financial Services Authority estimated that abuse of the system was costing clients around £140m a year and the Consumers' Association believes the rewards offered under the commission system are largely responsible.
Many people still have good cause to remember the home income plan scandal which erupted in 1990.
An estimated 10,000 pensioners are still living with crippling debts arising from their willingness to accept a scheme which, they believed, would provide them with a secure income in retirement.
Pensioners such as Mrs Josie Boswell and her late husband, Eric, ended up losing £29,000 through a home income plan in the 1980s. She blames the strain for her husband's untimely death.
The plans were promoted on the premise that elderly people could take value from their homes which had grown in value while their incomes had shrunk
Pensioners took out home loans at a variable rate but, instead of buying an annuity, they were persuaded to invest the money in high risk bonds promising high returns.
But soaring interest rates and a stock market slump led to the bonds dwindling in value - and thousands of pensioners were left with soaring debts and no means to pay.
The plans were sold by the now-defunct financial adviser Fisher Prew Smith with mortgages provided by the West Bromwich Building Society.
Although Prew Smith was investigated by the police no charges were brought, but he was disqualified as a director for seven years.
Prew Smith has re-emerged recently in London where he has been linked with an investment scheme from which £3m has reportedly disappeared.
Tony Craven, a retired medical representative who runs Hips 97, a support group for victims of the home income plan scandal, said: "Prew Smith and others destroyed lives.
"They sold these plans to people who had a bit of money in their homes and thought they could raise a bit for their old age.
"The investments didn't work in most cases and people were left with escalating loan debt they couldn't pay off."