The FCA has banned two PCD Wealth and Pensions Management employees for lack of integrity after they invested nearly £24m of customers’ pension funds in unsuitable investments.
Mark Kelly and Patrick Gray will not be fined by the FCA because they were not approved persons at the time of the misconduct. Further investigations are underway.
Between 2008 and 2010 PCD arranged for more than 350 customers to be advised and invested nearly £24m of customers’ funds in potentially unsuitable investments.
It also failed to declare to customers the fees it was receiving from a number of these investments.
Kelly was found to have invested customers’ pension funds in risky investments without their knowledge or consent.
He also received money from product providers taken directly out of customers’ investments without their knowledge and had it paid directly into a bank account in his name.
Meanwhile, Gray provided investment advice to at least five customers despite having no qualifications or training.
Gray was also found to have recklessly provided customers with misleading information in relation to costs and charges and arranged for customers to sign incomplete investment forms despite being aware of the risk that fees could later be added without their knowledge.
He also gave customers pension reports containing false and misleading assurances that they would receive advice on their investments even though, from October 2009, he knew that funds were being invested without their consent or knowledge.
He also misled the FCA in a compelled interview.
FCA enforcement and market oversight director Mark Steward says: “These two individuals misused pension funds, endangering the retirement incomes of hundreds of people. While further investigations continue, the FCA considers it necessary to prohibit them to help protect consumers.”