FCA fines compliance boss £33,000 and bans him from similar role

FCA fines compliance boss £33,000 and bans him from similar role

The former compliance director at Financial Group has been fined more than £33,000 by the FCA and banned from carrying out similar roles.

Stephen Bell was fined for systemic weaknesses in the design and execution of the network’s compliance systems and controls.

He has been banned from performing compliance oversight functions.

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As part of an earlier investigation the FCA found the network failed to ensure its appointed representatives and advisers were adequately supervised and controlled.

The City watchdog has now said that since Mr Bell was responsible for compliance between August 2008 and January 2013 he was “knowingly concerned” in these breaches.

Georgina Philippou, the FCA’s acting director of enforcement and market oversight division, said: “This action shows that a compliance director of a network has an important role in terms of ensuring that systems and controls across the network are focused on minimising the risk of mis-selling and the provision of unsuitable advice to consumers.

“We view Mr Bell’s failings as particularly serious because he had been put on notice of the need for significant improvements in the firms’ systems and controls and compliance.

“The network model is undermined if the senior managers of the principal firm do not carry out their responsibilities.”

In July the FCA publicly censured Financial Ltd and Investments Ltd, two subsidiaries of the network for systems and controls failings and banned them from recruiting new ARs and advisers for 126 days.

A spokesman for Financial Group said Mr Bell left the firm more than two years ago and his ban is now a personal matter.

He added: “From a business point of view we have addressed these issues and moved on. They are now historic issues.”

Background box

Last month Tavistock Investments shareholders voted unanimously in favour of its acquisition of Standard Financial Group.

The acquisition will create a business with more than 300 financial advisers and 65,000 clients in the UK, with a combined turnover of approximately £30m and an estimated £3bn in assets under advice.