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Badly-behaved advisers and rules: week in news

Badly-behaved advisers and rules: week in news

So here we all are: back at work, blearly eyed and several pounds heavier. But don't fret too much - that new year's resolution will last at least a couple of weeks. Surely?

A new year often means turning over a new leaf, but some things are destined to never change. For evidence of this, it's time for the week in news:

1) Not safe for work

A former financial adviser from Southport has been jailed for his involvement in a multi-million pound investment fraud.

Neil Bartlett, 53, of Delamere Road, Ainsdale, used £4.5m of his victims’ money to fund an extravagant lifestyle of foreign travel, top hotels and gambling, as well as prostitutes and escorts.

On December 21 2018 he was sentenced to eight years when he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court.

The fraud involved investing people’s money, pensions and often life savings into what they thought was a safe investment account with interest.

It emerged that Bartlett had created a sole trader account with the same name as the company he worked for and paid himself the money.

2) Hold the line

We've all found ourselves getting angry at being kept on hold, but things could be worse, as an adviser's client found out recently.

Lifesearch has dismissed an adviser who "joked" a client should commit suicide based on his medical history.

The client, referred to as Mr O, had just ended a phone call with his adviser who accidentally re-dialled his number without realising it.

Mr O then heard the adviser's conversation with his colleagues, which included the intermediary swearing about and insulting him plus making offensive remarks about his attitude during the earlier call and about his medical history.

The adviser's colleagues could be heard laughing and commenting in the background.

Mr O took Lifesearch to the Financial Ombudsman Service, which upheld his complaint and awarded him compensation of £2,000.

3) Plus ca change...

It may be a new year, but that doesn't mean advisers do not face regulatory change in 2019.

Among the biggest changes this year is the introduction of the senior managers regime, which comes into effect in December.

A managing director at Duff & Phelps has said it could take up to three years to see a "significant increase" in penalties against individuals under the regime but "big change" is certainly on the horizon.

Monique Melis said change was coming for the industry and moving into 2019 firms should be consolidating and embedding the regulatory change into their systems, culture and staff training.

4) The law fought the law and the law won

A group of judges and firefighters have won a court case against the government, as changes made to their pension schemes have been considered discriminatory.

The Court of Appeal said the government discriminated against the two groups on the grounds of age, race and equal pay in relation to changes to their pension.

The Fire Brigades Union said the firefighters’ pension scheme was substantially worsened in 2015, since "older members could stay in the existing and better pension scheme, and younger members had to transfer to a new and worse scheme, causing huge financial losses".