A very bad day at Age UK

Charles 6 Comments

Age UK (formerly Help the Aged) has issued a grovelling press release in the wake of the FSA investigation into HSBC and its subsidiary NHFA, which between 2005-10 missold bonds to cover long-term care costs. Clients, average age 83, were recommended to invest for 5 years — longer than they were expected to live. Under the circumstances, an ISA or a higher fixed interest rate savings account would have been a much better option. The FSA has fined HSBC £10.5 million, and NHFA is expected to foot a compensation bill for £29.3 million.

Says Age UK:

“Help the Aged had a relationship with the Nursing Home Fees Agency from 2003 until 2009 in which it acted as an introducer for the NHFA .  The NHFA also ran a care home fees advice line and offered an equity release product on behalf of Help the Aged.

“Help the Aged did not advise potential customers or have any input in investment decisions. The contract was reviewed as part of the Age UK merger process and it was decided to terminate the contract.

“NHFA were a major adviser in the area of funding care home fees and were trusted by many including Help the Aged. We are urgently reviewing the findings to see if today’s announcement affects Help the Aged customers and how we can help them access compensation from HSBC, NHFA’s parent company.”

The vulnerability of well-meaning charities to the blandishments of sociopath financial product salespeople is a matter of concern. Earlier this year Eulogy Magazine exposed an unhealthy relationship between Sue Ryder and King’s Court Trust – here

While it is still in the throes of repentant self-flagellation we express the earnest hope that Age UK will uncouple itself from Dignity funeral plans.

Age UK Funeral Plans
4 King Edwards Court
King Edwards Square
Sutton Coldfield,
West Midlands B73 6AP

Dignity Funerals Ltd,
4 King Edwards Court,
King Edward Square,
Sutton Coldfield,
West Midlands, B73 6AP

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Liz Mowatt
10 years ago

Let’s hope they fair better with the selling of Helen Mirren’s red bikini!

andrew plume
andrew plume
10 years ago

…….not sure if they will Charles?

from memory, they’ve been joined together since the late 1980’s, when Dignity used the expression ‘dignity in destiny’ of course they were not then known as Dignity Plc, but were probably Plantsbrook Plc which was the name of the holding Company prior to the subsequent ownership by the good people (sic) of SCI

best regards


David Holmes
10 years ago

I suspect like others, I would naturally assume a charity such as Age Concern or Age UK would offer good impartial help and advice to older people.

Some of the commercial relationships that it forms do appear to be in conflict with the aims of a charity supporting the elderly?

Charles Cowling
10 years ago

I fear so, David. Cash generation is a major part of a charity’s operation these days. Age UK told me a few years ago, when I rang to ask why, that Dignity is able to roll out an assured level of service nationwide.Hmnn.

Didn’t know the relationship was of such long standing, Andrew. Thanks.

Tony Bryer
Tony Bryer
10 years ago

15 years ago I wrote a number of letters to Age Concern (as was) regarding their sale of funeral plans. 1 February 1997: “… Chosen Heritage (and to a lesser extent, some other schemes) represents a threat to independent undertakers, many of whom provide a high quality service at a reasonable price. Within each local area Age Concern should be working to identify and support such firms …”. Instead Age Concern/Age UK has worked hard to weaken such firms by ensuring that at a time of death they will not be engaged no matter how good they are.

Charles Cowling
10 years ago

Thanks for that, Tony. Age UK are unshakeable. They simply can’t afford to live without the Dignity money, I suppose. And of course, they’re wrong.