Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA removes IFA's permissions over concerns of unregulated advice

FCA removes IFA's permissions over concerns of unregulated advice

The Financial Conduct Authority has removed the permissions of IFA Frensham Wealth Limited, saying it had "serious concerns" the firm was continuing to advise clients after its sole adviser lost his permissions in September.  

In a first supervisory notice published yesterday (November 26), the FCA revoked the IFA's Part 4A permissions, saying it had no confidence about the firm’s current activities, as its website was still live and still advertising advice services to clients.

The firm had also informed the regulator that it would transfer its customer business to another authorised firm but has not suggested that it will employ additional resource prior to this, the FCA said. 

The FCA first took action against sole director Jon Frensham in October 2020, following a 2017 conviction for grooming.

Although Frensham's actions were not finance related, the regulator found him not to be a fit and proper person and removed his permissions to perform his current senior management functions while issuing a prohibition order against him.

However, the adviser referred the decision to the Upper Tribunal, which sided with the FCA, leading to a ban this September. 

The FCA said: “The authority has received assurances from Mr Frensham that he has not been conducting any regulated activities through the firm. However, Mr Frensham lacks integrity and, in particular, has been found by the tribunal to have failed on multiple occasions to comply with his duty of candour and transparency in his communications with the authority. 

“Accordingly, the authority does not consider that it can have any confidence in Mr Frensham’s statements as to the firm’s current activities and, in particular, whether the firm is continuing to conduct any regulated activities in circumstances where the firm, through its website, continues to purport to offer such services."

The FCA has given the firm a deadline of December 6 at 4pm to notify in writing all customers of the change in permissions and either update or remove its website from the internet.

The City watchdog asked the IFA to confirm once this has been done. 

The FCA said it had acted in line with its operational objectives of securing consumer protection and enhancing the integrity of the UK financial system. 

sonia.rach@ft.com

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