FSA Mulls Ban on Marketing Complex Products to Retail Consumers

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. Financial Services Authority intends to ban the marketing of complex investment products involving assets such as wine, crops and timber to retail consumers.

The regulator found “high levels of unsuitable advice” and the “potential for customer detriment,” in a review into products known as Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes, the FSA said today. Around 85,000 retail investors already have direct holdings in UCIS, according to the agency.

“This situation needs to change and so we are acting now to prevent these products being marketed to ordinary retail investors in the future,” Gavin Stewart, acting director of policy at the FSA, said in an e-mailed statement.

The FSA has increased pressure on banks to be transparent in their dealings with retail customers. Barclays Plc was fined 7.7 million pounds ($12.3 million) in January last year for failing to disclose risks in two funds it sold to thousands of retirees.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Moshinsky in London at bmoshinsky@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.