Allied Dunbar


Allied Dunbar

Allied Dunbar is a trading name of the Zurich Financial Services Group and its subsidiary companies Allied Dunbar Assurance plc and Dunbar Bank plc.

Setting up its headquarters in Swindon town centre in 1970 under the name 'Hambro Life', the company expanded its financial adviser operations during the late 70's and early 80's to become 'Allied Hambro' in 1984, finally changing to 'Allied Dunbar' in 1985. It is no longer trading as it was bought out by Zurich Financial Services, and its direct sales force became the Zurich Advice Network (ZAN).

Following changes in industry regulation ZAN subsequently evolved into a stand-alone limited entity known as Openwork - a directly authorised multi-tied financial distribution network.

Endowment complaints

Over the period May 2001 to April 2003, a portion of the nearly 300,000 Allied Dunbar customers who had been sold endowment mortgages made complaints. These complaints were prompted by a fall in the market (which meant that nearly nine in ten of their accounts were likely to suffer maturity value and mortgage repayment shortfalls) as well as new regulations which required that customers be notified semi-annually of the projected earnings of the endowment, with particular regard to such shortfalls. [http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/article65207.ece Dunbar fined £725,000 for mis-selling endowments] , "The Independent" (20 March 2004)] Around 1,000 such complaints were rejected during the above period. The Financial Services Authority investigated the rejected complaints, as well as Allied Dunbar's internal procedures for handling such customer complaints, and while maintaining a majority of them, it fined the company £725,000 on 11 March 2004 for mishandling such complaints. [ [http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/final/allied_dunbar_18mar04.pdf Final notice of financial penalty] , Financial Services Authority (18 March 2004)] In its decision, the Financial Services Authority noted that: [" [http://www.fsa.gov.uk/Pages/Library/Communication/PR/2004/025.shtml Allied Dunbar fined 725,000 for mishandling mortgage endowment complaints] ", Financial Services Authority (19 March 2004)]

Allied Dunbar stopped writing endowment mortgages in November 2001. [" [http://www.zurich.co.uk/home/pressmedia/News/2004/allieddunbarimprovescustomercomplaintsprocedures.htm Allied Dunbar improves customer complaints procedures following FSA investigation] ", Allied Dumbar (19 March 2004)] It was not the only company fined by the FSA, and at the time this was only the fifth largest fine for offences related to endowment complaint mismanagement. Friends Provident had been fined £625,000 in November 2003, and five other firms had previously been fined a total of £5.2 million for their mismanagement of such complaints. The largest fine fell to Royal Scottish Assurance, which incurred a £2m penalty.

References


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