The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned Elizabeth Anne Parry from carrying out any regulated activity, after she gave advice without authorisation, and subsequently fabricated documents to suggest that she was in fact qualified as a financial adviser.
Since 2013, financial advisers have been required to hold a suitable Level 4 Diploma qualification in order to give advice. They must also apply for and obtain a Statement of Professional Standing (SPS) every year.
Miss Parry was first authorised to give financial advice in 2007, but she never obtained a Diploma qualification once the new examination standards came into force in 2013. Despite this, she submitted a Professional Standards Data form to the FCA in January 2013 claiming both to have passed the necessary examinations, and to have obtained an SPS from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
The FCA queried almost immediately how she could claim to hold an SPS when the CII records suggested otherwise. Miss Parry said this was because the CII also held records relating to her when she used a different surname prior to her divorce.
She eventually provided the FCA with a copy of an SPS in October 2013, but this was in fact a fabricated document. As she had never obtained the Diploma qualification, she could never have successfully obtained a genuine SPS.
The regulator initially accepted Miss Parry’s submission of an SPS, failing to identify that it was in fact false. In June 2015, the FCA made further enquiries with the CII and was informed both that no SPS had ever been issued to Miss Parry, and that she had not obtained a Diploma qualification.
Miss Parry finally admitted wrongdoing in an interview with the FCA in November 2015, meaning that she had misled the regulator as to her qualification status on six previous occasions: January 2013, May 2013, July 2013, October 2013, June 2014 and September 2015.
Carnforth, Lancashire–based Miss Parry was also fined £109,400. This was reduced from £157,395 due to evidence she presented to the FCA regarding her financial situation, and also because the FCA applied the standard 30% fines discount as a result of her willingness to co-operate with their enquiries.
Mark Steward, Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA said:
“We raised the minimum qualification standards in order to protect consumers from financial harm, and Miss Parry’s behaviour demonstrates a clear disregard of those standards and her duty to be honest with the FCA. We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”
The case is similar to that of Ewan King, who was banned and fined by the FCA in January 2014 for fabricating an SPS. Mr King also produced a false document because he knew he had not passed the required examinations and would not have been able to obtain a genuine document.
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