For at least the third time in the last three years, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has taken enforcement action against an individual who fabricated evidence of his professional qualifications. As in the previous two cases, the individual – a director of a Northern Ireland advice firm – has been banned from working in financial services in any capacity. He has also had his permission to carry out the director function cancelled and has been fined £29,300.
Since the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) requirements came into force in 2013, investment and pension advisers have been required to hold a suitable QCF level 4 Diploma qualification in financial advice. Acceptable examples include the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning and the Diploma for Financial Advisers offered by The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF), previously known as the Institute of Financial Services.
The RDR also requires advisers to obtain a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) on an annual basis. The CII and LIBF are two of the organisations who can issue this Statement, and they will only do so if satisfied that the adviser holds the required Diploma and has carried out sufficient Continuing Professional Development during the relevant 12-month period.
In this case, the FCA acted after discovering that the individual fabricated an SPS on two occasions. He would have been unable to obtain an SPS through the usual channels as he had not obtained the required Diploma qualification and was therefore giving advice without being qualified to do so.
The FCA’s Final Notice says that he “knowingly made numerous false and misleading statements to the Authority concerning his qualifications and experience.” It adds that “[NAME]’s misconduct amounts to a failure to act with integrity in breach of Statement of Principle 1 of the Authority’s Statements of Principle.”
The firm, of which the individual in question was the sole director, was authorised by the FCA to give insurance and mortgage advice in February 2014. One year later, it applied to add investment advice permissions to its list of permitted activities. At the same time, applications were made for the firm’s director to carry out the roles of CF10 (Compliance Oversight) and CF30 (Customer).
In support of these applications, he submitted two SPS documents, along with a CV which stated that he had passed the CII’s Diploma in 2012. However, in later interviews with the FCA, he confessed that:
- The CII had never provided him with an SPS
- The two SPS documents he provided had been fabricated
- He claimed to have held the CF30 function at another firm right up until December 2014, when in fact he only held this permission until January 2013
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