The bank was reported to the police for providing misleading information to its customers. Although the bank became aware that a very large proportion of its customers could expect a negative net return, the customers were not informed of this by the bank. For a long period of time, the bank also continued to sell the respective investment strategies in Flexinvest Fri to new customers. The new customers were also not informed of the expected negative net return.
The Financial Supervisory Authority considers this to be a very serious violation of the consumer protection rules that apply in this area. It is a violation that could also play a part in undermining confidence in the financial system.
The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority has also made a decision concerning a number of orders for Danske Bank in connection with the sale of Flexinvest Fri with expected negative net returns.
As a consequence of the decision, Danske Bank must perform new suitability tests for all customers with investment agreements in Flexinvest Fri. The bank must also rectify the inadequate communication with each Flexinvest Fri customer who has had an expected negative return.
Furthermore, the bank has received a number of other orders aimed at ensuring compliance with the investor protection rules concerning the sale of investment products and advisory services for such products.
Continued focus on investment products with low risk and a short horizon
As previously indicated, the Financial Supervisory Authority continues to look closely at the offering of investment products to customers with low risk willingness and a short horizon; this is partially due to the current case and, more generally, on the basis of the very low interest rate level.
“Customer confidence hinges on banks providing accurate advisory services. The latest development in interest rates imposes significant requirements on the advisory services of the banks in conjunction with the sale of investment products. It is a particularly significant challenge because customers have an alternative in the form of deposit account, which at the current interest rate level is an attractive savings product for many people,” says FSA Director General Jesper Berg.