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Five ex-directors banned over unsuitable pension advice

They have also been fined over £1m in total

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued five prohibition orders against five directors of several failed financial advice businesses for causing “significant losses” to pension clients.

The FCA’s bid to ban the individuals was appealed at the Upper Tribunal, but it was unsuccessful.

Now Andrew Page, Thomas Ward, Aiden Henderson, Robert Ward and Tristan Freer have been prohibited from working in financial services for failing to act with integrity, having either acted “dishonestly or recklessly”, the regulator said.

Each of the five was a director at failed financial advice firms – Financial Page Ltd, Henderson Carter Associates Limited and Bank House Investment Management Limited – and provided unsuitable advice to over 2,000 customers.

This led to the clients placing their pensions in high-risk financial products in Sipps, in which unauthorised firm Hennessy Jones had a significant financial interest.

Hennessy Jones was the introducer business that referred the customers to the three advice companies, and was also involved in designing the pension advice process used by the three firms, the FCA added.

Adviser-introducer relationship ‘in the spotlight’

The scheme caused losses of over £50m ($66m, €60m) to more than 2,000 savers who have now received redress from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The tribunal found that all five former directors allowed their “instincts and values to be overridden” and their judgment compromised for personal financial gain, as they failed to check where client money was being invested.

This led to large penalties being imposed on each of the five individuals:

  • Andrew Page – £321,033 plus interest
  • Thomas Ward – £416,558 plus interest
  • Aiden Henderson – £179,179 plus interest
  • Robert Ward – £88,100 (no interest applicable)
  • Tristan Freer – £40,736 plus interest.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “No reputable financial adviser should recommend that people put their entire pension savings in high-risk investments.

“Customers were misled into believing that they would get independent and impartial advice, but their interests were reprehensively betrayed in this case. This case also places firms’ relationships with unauthorised introducers in the spotlight.

“All firms should pay heed and scrutinise these relationships to ensure standards of integrity, due diligence and fair treatment of customers are uppermost.”

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