FSCS defends disclosure of retired adviser’s details

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is releasing information about the whereabouts of advisers to consumers even if they have retired and the firm they owned is not in default, Derek Bradley, chief executive of Panacea Adviser has discovered.

In his latest Blog, Mr Bradley questioned the sharing of information by the FSCS and stated the adviser whose details were handed over to the consumer related to a complaint about an endowment mortgage recommended in 1989, some 25 years ago.

The advisory firm, which Mr Bradley said was a partnership at the time the advice was given, closed in 1998 with full PIA regulatory approval and was not in FSCS default, Mr Bradley said.

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After receiving the complaint the FSCS contacted the adviser to check he was solvent and warn the client wanted to know where he now lived. According to Mr Bradley, the adviser who retired back in 2005, made it clear that he did not wish his address to be given and he gave specific reasons.

But Mr Bradley said these reasons were dismissed by the FSCS, prompting him to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The retired adviser felt it was unfair to release his details when the firm was not in default and that the complaint would have been dismissed under past regulator’s rules as well as the FSCS own rules by way of being out of time on so many levels.

Yet, Mr Bradley said the adviser was told the FSCS would still give his former client his current home address.

Mr Bradley said: “Advisers should rightly be incensed as this could happen to anyone and illustrates only too well the need for a long-stop to be reinstated.

“Regulators are looking at personal responsibility for directors. In this case the adviser’s address was not his place of business and he had moved, even abroad for a time.

“The FSCS track movements and trace home addresses for years after even though not in default it seems.

“They should not be giving out an adviser’s home address. It is a very desperate situation if an adviser can be complained about for a recommendation they made a quarter of a century ago and could find themselves door stepped today.”

The FSCS said it “appreciated” the IFA’s concerns but claimed it was justified.

A spokesman for the FSCS said: “We appreciate the IFA’s concerns. However, we received general guidance from the ICO on disclosure of IFA details previously, and have applied this guidance to the case.

“We are already in correspondence with the ICO regarding this matter and if we find we have acted incorrectly we will make every effort to rectify this and to work closely with the ICO if necessary.”