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Chase fined £165k for structured marketing

Chase de Vere Financial Solutions has been hit with a £165,000 fine in the first FSA penalty against an IFA over the marketing of structured products.

The regulator says Chase, which rebranded from Chase de Vere Investments following its merger with Moneyextra Financial Solutions last June, launched a marketing campaign last March through national newspapers, promoting funds in an unclear, unfair and misleading manner.

The promotion covered four high-income bonds – the UK growth cocktail fund, corporate bond cocktail fund, enhanced and enhanced growth plans – and details were mailed to 236,000 prospective customers.

The firm had already been notified of some defects in its approach in relation to earlier promotions.

Chase disputes whether some of the criticisms are valid but has agreed to take them into account for future promotions.

It has offered redress to 259 customers who responded to the promotion and, so far, offers have been accepted by 14 customers.

The FSA says two of the products in the promotion, which were not capital-guaranteed, relied on detailed formulae to determine investment return in a way that would be unclear and unfamiliar to investors.

FSA director of enforcement Andrew Procter says: “The FSA has made it clear time and time again that financial promotions must not mislead and that significant risk factors should be given due prominence.

“Chase de Vere failed to heed the warnings. If it were not for the co-operation shown and the remedial action taken, the penalty would have been much higher.”

Chase de Vere savings & investment manager Anna Bowes says: “The FSA have become tougher on financial promotions and we have been trying to interpret their guidelines. We have not set out to dupe anyone. We have to accept this and move on.”

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