Pension Funds and Money Managers 'Win' UK (Least) Popular Contest

June 9, 2006 ( - UK pension firms and money managers rank dead last when it comes to their reputation for trustworthiness - below politicians and traffic cops, according to a new study.

The pension companies and investment managers also fared just as poorly in terms of their reputation for fair play as did traditional reputation punching bags such as politicians, according to research from UK firm Mintel, according to the Life Style Extra Web site.

When asked who they considered fair among professionals and organizations, pension companies and investment managers received 7% and 4% of votes, respectively, while real estate agents received 5% and politicians received 4%.

Both financial advisers (12%) and insurance companies (10%) were ranked only marginally higher but still below accountants and lawyers (both 14%) on the fairness scale.

The Mintel survey found that doctors were seen in the most positive light and were the only profession in which more than half the population hold them in high regard. However fewer than two-thirds of adults (64%) saw them as fair, the survey found.

Teachers (42%), the police (36%), charities (35%) and supermarkets (30%) made up the rest of the top five, with banks (29%) following closely behind.

In terms of the specific actions, more than a third (36%) attacked the practice of offering new customers better rates or conditions than existing ones as unfair, making it the second most commonly mentioned activity.

Meanwhile, almost one-in-three (32%) adults criticized having to wait so long for checks to clear, making it the third most unpopular practice. Charging current account holders if they overdrawn (31%) and imposing penalties for not paying a credit card bill on time (15%) were also found to be unfair.