01 June 1997

THE CONSUMERS’ Association magazine has caned financial advertisers for making inaccurate and misleading claims. Nor did Which? spare the rod for the Advertising Standards Authority and the Personal Investment Authority, whose respective regulatory methods were 'either too slow, too powerless or too secretive'. The main targets for CA’s ire, however, were Legal & General and Direct Line: the former for a Pep ad which claimed the investment offered 'market growth plus 40%', whereas investors stood to receive only 10% plus 40% of that 10% - making 14% in all. Direct Line’s transgression was to favourably compare one of its savings accounts to a Nationwide product, carefully choosing one with a less generous return than the building society’s more favourable direct equivalent. Direct Line pleaded that Nationwide itself had used the lower rate account in one of its own campaigns, while L&G’s defence was that it supplied potential punters with illustrations showing the exact return achievable with their investment before they stumped-up their cash.