Having been a defender of the smaller adviser firms in particular for a long time and wishing to see the integrity of the brand maintained, I am appalled that anyone would even think of placing themselves and their clients in the line of fire. The step from non- regulated products to regulated is pretty small.
During a TSC grilling of Sants in March 2011 Andrew Tyrie raised the issue of FSA accountability and this led to an interesting line of questioning that I am sure many remember, it went as follows:
Chair: “Reckless behaviour was defined for me when I asked exactly this question when FSMA was going through Parliament. Recklessness was described as doing something really stupid knowing it’s really stupid. Do you think that you should retain immunity from redress in the courts for doing something really stupid knowing it’s really stupid”?
Hector Sants: “Of course, presumably the question is: who would pay? Would you then be suggesting, given our only revenue raising capacity is the firms, that in the event that you judge that the officials had breached the requirements you outline, we would then retrieve the money from the firms, or if you felt we should be paying, you probably would find you would have an issue as to who would want to work in the business”?
Well, in this case the individuals are “doing something really stupid knowing it’s really stupid” and it is a case of they should not be working in the business if they cross that line.