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FCA bans and censures Sipp operator MD

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The FCA has banned and censured Sipp operator Montpelier Pension Administration Services’ managing director Kevin Wells for exposing customers to a significant level of risk.

It is the first time the regulator has banned a member of a Sipp operator’s senior management. Wells has been banned from holding a senior role at any regulated firm. He would have been fined £58,500 but was able to show the penalty would cause serious financial hardship.

The regulator has already fined former Montpelier finance director Graeham Sampson £17,850 over failures to ensure the Sipp provider was meeting capital requirements.

Wells allowed a high proportion of non-standard investments in Montpelier Sipps without the necessary controls or adequate capital.

Montpelier also breached rules on holding client assets, failed to monitor advisers or fund managers and lacked the knowledge to administer assets.

FCA director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott says: “This case is a graphic illustration of the reasons for these concerns. Wells’ tenure as managing director should be seen as a ‘how-not-to’ guide for running a Sipp oper-ator. He was out of his depth.”

FortyTwo Wealth Management partner Alan Dick says: “It does not surprise me that firms are getting fined and banned and it will become more common. There are a number of Sipp operators that are probably sailing close to the wind in operating robust systems and compliance.”

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