“HSBC, Britain’s largest bank, has been slapped with a £10.5m fine by the Financial Services Authority for selling unsuitable products to almost 2,500 elderly customers…In many cases the five-year investment period for the bonds was longer than the individual customer’s life expectancy…a review of a sample of customer files found unsuitable sales had been made to 87% of customers.”(Guardian, 5th Dec)
So, let me just take a minute to get this right. On massive scale, a subsidiary of HSBC has been making a fortune mis-selling a financial service to vulnerable, elderly people near the end of their lives. The service is intended to help people pay for their long-term care, but in many cases the investment period for the bonds exceeded the fucking life expectancy of the people to whom it was sold.
Am really struggling here. If someone preys on the elderly via a doorstep fraud, or a bogus roofing job, chances are they'll get sent to prison. The difference here is..?
I can't see it.
And the fine? Big fucking deal. I know £10.5 million sounds like a big deal, but this is a company that made a profit of £12 billion in 2010. Put it this way, it's like someone on £20,000 a year being fined £160.
That'll show 'em.
(I've just heard that the fine is less than the commission that would have been earned on the investments. Words fail me.)