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Network boss blames FCA for delays to court confrontation

Network boss blames FCA for delays to court confrontation

The former chief executive of Standard Financial Group has said his court case against the Financial Conduct Authority will now probably not be heard until next year.

Charlie Palmer, who was fined nearly £87,000 by the FCA in December 2010, was hoping to challenge the penalty in court this year.

However Mr Palmer, who was fined for failing to ensure the network’s risk management framework was adequate, has now been told by his legal team he is unlikely to have his day in court to challenge the regulator until next year.

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Mr Palmer, who is now chairman of IFA Compliance, said the delay has been prompted by the regulator not submitting details of its evidence.

“We are waiting for the FCA to come back with their side of the story and then it goes to the Upper Tribunal.

“We have done our evidence and we are waiting for the FCA’s. They are looking for an expert witness to help them,” he stated.

“It looks like the hearing is going to be next year, which isn’t great.

“Their case against me has changed six times, but it is currently that there was insufficient control over the business model; there is no measure for that.

“We thought it was sufficient, our board of directors thought it was sufficient and the chairman thought it was sufficient. The compliance director’s job was to run the business and I gave them the backing to do that.”

The regulator’s case against Mr Palmer is that the business model he developed gave appointed representatives and regulated advisers a high level of flexibility and freedom as to how they could operate within the network.

This business model, the FCA claimed, thereby increased the risk to underlying customers and increased the possibility that Mr Palmer’s company would be unaware of, or unable to prevent, appointed representatives and registered individuals giving unsuitable advice or selling unsuitable investments.

But Mr Palmer has maintained he did not break any rules or guidance.

In February 2015, Tavistock Investments shareholders voted unanimously in favour of its acquisition of Standard Financial Group.

Tavistock Investments closed Financial Ltd and Investments Ltd, the two trading subsidiaries it bought during the deal for Standard Financial Group, in October.

Tavistock is currently putting the finishing touches to a past business review into pension switching advice problems at Financial Ltd, ordered by the FCA in 2012.

Mr Palmer said the reason for this review is because some IFAs didn’t offer a customer review date.

The FCA declined to comment on Mr Palmer’s remarks.