Pimfa suspends adviser over CII sanctions

Pimfa suspends adviser over CII sanctions
West Riding Personal Financial Solutions managing director Neil Liversidge

Adviser trade body Pimfa has suspended a member due to sanctions that were imposed against him by the Chartered Insurance Institute.

According to Pimfa, the suspension in September came after the adviser trade body had reviewed an investigation against West Riding Personal Financial Solutions managing director Neil Liversidge.

That investigation had been carried out by the Chartered Insurance Institute after a complaint was made relating to one of the adviser's tweets.

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Earlier this year, this had resulted in Liversidge being asked to do an online ethics course with the CII.

This has now been completed, a fact that Pimfa said it has factored into a review of Liversidge's membership, which could be reinstated in November at the board meeting.

The original complaint

Liversidge was first notified by the CII about the anonymous complaint on November 8, 2021.

The tweet, which prompted the complaint, published on November 5, 2021, concerned Lord Patel's appointment as chairperson of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Following the CII’s letter to Liversidge, a disciplinary investigation ensued. 

Eight months later and following an investigation, the chartered body found the adviser had breached the CII’s Code of Ethics by making inappropriate comments on his social media account.

It said: "The respondent breached the CII Code of Ethics by making inappropriate comments on his social media account."

Following this, Liversidge completed the course and compiled with the sanctions imposed.

FTAdviser understands that Liversidge had sanctions imposed but was not subject to suspension and therefore remains a member.

However, in September, Pimfa suspended Liversidge on the basis of the CII sanctions, stating he was in breach of membership rules.  

It told Liversidge the matter was considered “on a no names basis” and that item 14 of the Pimfa rules updated in April 2017 stated that, where a member is guilty of conduct of bringing the association or member into disrepute, the directors may, if they think fit, suspend or terminate the membership of the member in question.

At the time, Liversidge was told that the board determined that the best place for representation is with the professional institute and they “reserve their right to not provide you with an opportunity to make representation to the Pimfa board on this matter”.

This decision meant that access to information on the website, membership of committees, voting rights, or any other member benefit, was suspended immediately.  

A spokesperson for the adviser trade body told FTAdviser that its policy is to support professional bodies such as the CII in raising standards and if any of its members is suspended or sanctioned by one of those professional bodies, the Pimfa board will give due consideration as to whether it is obliged to act as well.