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Compliance director banned for mishandling complaints

The FSA has banned Jonathan Leigh Hardie, of Primedale Financial Services, from being a senior manager after he mishandled mortgage endowment complaints over a five-year period.

The regulator says Hardie, a director responsible for compliance at the now defunct company, failed to consider his regulatory responsibilities when dealing with complaints.

The FSA found that between January 2001 and May 2006, Hardie did not assess complaints fairly and objectively, having already decided that Primedale had never knowingly missold an endowment.

He did not investigate missing information relating to complaints or consider the suitability of recommendations and he also failed to give customers proper, fair and balanced reasons for rejecting complaints.

The FSA says Hardie did not identify and remedy recurring problems in Primedale’s endowment mortgage complaint handling procedures and that he reviewed complaints for which he was the original adviser.

As a result, the regulator says customers were exposed to the risk that they would not receive compensation to which they were entitled.

Head of retail enforcement Jonathan Phelan says firms must have in place and operate an effective complaint handling system as a key part of treating customers fairly.

He says: “Mr Hardie was responsible for ensuring that Primedale reviewed and responded fairly to the mortgage endowment complaints it received but fell a long way short of achieving this and as a consequence has been banned from being a senior manager.

“Our action should leave firms in no doubt that the FSA places great emphasis on the importance of adequate complaint handling systems and individuals responsible for handling complaints should take appropriate steps to assess complaints fairly, consistently and effectively.”


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