/ Money

Who owns who? And why it matters to your savings

£85k in flowers

Why do you need to know which financial brand owns your bank? Because if you place too much of your cash in a single institution, you could lose some of it if your bank goes bust. The more you know…

We’ve previously found that even bank staff are unable to explain the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) properly – so why should the general public be any different?

The FSCS currently protects up to £85,000 of your money – £170,000 for joint accounts – should your banking provider collapse. Since 2001, the scheme has helped more than 4.5 million people, paying out £26bn in compensation.

The FSCS now wants to increase awareness of its scheme from 63% to 70%. To do this, it has employed a number of celebrities, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Fearne Cotton (as you can see the following video):


Who owns who?

Although it’s good that your savings are protected, and for free, protection is offered per banking licence not per brand. That means if you have more than £85,000 stashed in two separate accounts which sit under the same banking licence (eg First Direct and HSBC), you’re still only protected for losses of up to £85,000.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have more than £85,000 in savings, it’s important to know who owns who in the current account market. You can then use this knowledge to spread your deposits between different financial institutions so that each chunk of your cash is covered separately.

Luckily we’ve created a handy tool to help you decipher who owns who. This is particularly important for those of you who may have just sold a house or received an inheritance.

Are you savings protected?

The last time I discussed the Financial Services Compensation Scheme here on Which? Convo there were some spirited responses from our regulars. William asked:

‘Why not just make it a condition of the licence that companies operating under the same licence share the same name? Or is that too simple?’

However, Malcolm R thought the scheme was easy enough to understand and told us that:

‘The savings account pages on the websites of my banks spell out the FSCS limits and associated banks names. Looking at account statements from my two banks, both spell out the FSCS limit and also all the trading names for the banks, so you should be are aware of the protection they give.’

Meanwhile, John Ward had an interesting suggestion as to how to clarify the situation:

‘I don’t think it would be that difficult for the banks and building societies to print an information notice on the statements as soon as the balance on an account gets close to the £85k FSCS full compensation limit.’

So what do you think? Should the FSCS go to the trouble of increasing our awareness of the compensation limits available when a bank goes down? Or is it a fairly simple scheme that people should be able to understand quite easily?


“Should the FSCS go to the trouble of increasing our awareness of the compensation limits available when a bank goes down? Or is it a fairly simple scheme that people should be able to understand quite easily?”

I think you asked these questions the wrong why round, cos if you answer them the other why round you get,

It is a simple scheme to understand, but you need to know about it to benefit from it. So raising awareness would be good for those that don’t know.

I still think I was right in the question I posed in an earlier convo. And why shouldn’t the companies be made to pay extra for each different name they choose to operate under. Or just make them have a banking licence per brand and if one part breaches the licence then they all suffer.

It seems a rather futile campaign given that for the vast majority of the UK public the chances of having more than £85,000 invested will only occur perhaps once or twice within their lifetime. I see the Banks say it affects less than 2% of the depositors.

Why the public needs to hold in their minds a piece of information which is currently of little relevance , no doubt will change in time , and should be carried on financial correspondence, and surely be advised by finance professionals when relevant, passes my understanding.

It would be interesting to see the case made for the advertising campaign as to why 70% was so much more useful than 63% and how much taxpayers money should be spent to achieve this so necessary target.

I agree with William. If there was any real thought on making the system friendly to the public it would be that all financial trading names would be required to insure their deposits OR have their own banking license and therefore give cover for £85,000.

another point to consider……even when the Barclay’s (and others) miss-selling etc came to the public’s attention not many people voted with their feet and put any savings in a more ethical bank/place, publish what you like (or what the banks will allow) the real problem is getting people to act after years of getting used to being so poorly treated.

A very interesting point Mick. It set me thinking and consider:

” In April 2011, Unilever was fined €104 million by the European Commission for establishing a price-fixing cartel in Europe along with P&G, who was fined €211.2 million, and Henkel (not fined). Though the fine was set higher at first, it was discounted by 10% after Unilever and P&G admitted running the cartel. As the provider of the tip-off leading to investigations, Henkel was not fined.[37]”

What if Group companies were required to carry for a year after the event a a message on their product, or any advertising, that they had essentially been caught colluding against consumers. I think that the public ought to be told and what a lovely way to do it. The threat in itself I would think would bring a change in behaviours.

Oh I like that idea, seems more likely than my idea, tattoo CEOs across the forehead, “corporate cheat”

I opened this article hoping that it would list for me the banks and which financial brand owns which.
Is this some thing Which would do for us?

The article does have a hyperlink to the information you need “Luckily we’ve created a handy tool to help you decipher who owns who.”

Which takes you to this page:

Which? have put a nice front-end on the regulatory bodies Website information. This is excellent stuff. If not easily found if you try using the Which search function with expressions like £85,000 limit.