A scandal that broke about five years ago continues to dog U.K. intermediaries, said Martin Cross, a London-based analyst for the British firm Teather and Greenwood.

IFAs were encouraging large numbers of retirement investors to abandon their corporate defined-benefit plans and sign up for personal, free-standing contribution plans, he said. The problem was that "it was almost child's play to see that it was the wrong decision" for many investors, Cross said. "They didn't ask enough questions about a person's circumstances. That was the single, most grievous sin."

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