04Apr

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned a London-based financial adviser from working in financial services in any capacity, after he fabricated evidence of the professional qualifications needed to work as an adviser. He has also been fined £34,000.

The adviser produced a false Learning Statement, supposedly produced by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) – one of the principal professional associations in the financial services industry – in an attempt to mislead his firm.

In April 2014, the adviser commenced work as a trainee investment adviser. He did not at this stage hold a Level 4 Diploma, however at this time he had not acted improperly, as trainee retail investment advisers can give advice during their training period provided that they are directly supervised by an individual who has obtained an appropriate Level 4 qualification. The trainee must obtain a Level 4 qualification within 30 months of their appointment as a trainee.

His wrongdoing commenced in December 2014, when he falsely claimed to his supervisor at his firm that he had passed the R04 (Pensions and retirement planning) paper of the CII’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. In April 2015, he told his supervisor he had passed the R02 paper, which covers investment principles and risk. Once again, he was misleading his supervisor, as he had not in fact passed these examinations.

In November 2015, he told the CII during a telephone conversation that he had passed R05 (Financial protection), when once again this was not the case. In January 2016, he once again told the CII about the examinations he claimed to have passed, which included the R03 (Personal taxation), R04, R05 and R06 (Financial planning practice) examinations.

In December 2015, he produced a falsified Learning Statement, supposedly issued by the CII, which stated that he had completed the Diploma qualification, when in fact he had not passed any of the examinations required to attain that qualification.

Unsurprisingly, the FCA has concluded that his actions constitute a breach of Statement of Principle 1, requiring individuals to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity. It also says that he is “not a fit and proper person, and he poses a risk to consumers and to the integrity of the financial system.”

Banning a person from working in any role within financial services is the ultimate sanction available to the FCA and is imposed where evidence of serious misconduct is identified. Producing false evidence of qualifications is certainly viewed as a very serious matter, and any individual who is guilty of this offence must expect to be banned from the industry.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article.