This week’s Money Marketing reveals the platform wrote to 991 accountholders who are clients of former Park Row advisers on March 5, referring them to the FSA’s notice on the firm’s censure. The letter says: “We do strongly urge you to nominate a new adviser as soon as possible.”
A Park Row adviser, who did not want to be named, says: “It is very underhand. They want us to place business with them and all of a sudden they are kicking us when we are down. They have not consulted us and the letter makes us feel we have committed a crime when all we are doing is waiting to be reauthorised.”
Cofunds says it has an obligation to write to clients explaining the situation regarding their policies on the platform but has apologised to Park Row advisers for failing to tell clients that a significant number of the advisers have already been reauthorised under new networks while others are still waiting reauthorisation from the FSA. Cofunds has sent a revised letter to clients this week clarifying the matter.
Cofunds head of marketing Stephen Wynne-Jones says: “The original letter was technically correct but we should not have issued it without any reference to the fact that some of the advisers have been reauthorised or are awaiting reauthorisation by the FSA – it was an omission that we regret and we have apologised to both Park Row and the advisers concerned.”
The FSA is expected to inform Park Row advisers within weeks whether they will be reauthorised, whether they will need to wait for a review of business or whether their applications will be rejected. Many of the 240 former Park Row advisers have not been able to do business since they were deauthorised on November 13.
The FSA recently censured the firm for failing to ensure that its sales were suitable and secured customer redress estimated at between £5m and £7.8m and fined the firm’s chief executive Peter Sprung £49,000.