The Financial Conduct Authority spent £143,568 in legal fees pursuing its case to ban former network chief executive Charlie Palmer.
Following a Freedom of Information request by Money Marketing the regulator revealed that its internal legal staff had spent 930.75 hours working on the case.
The FCA also engaged the use of counsel barristers Javan Herberg and Simon Pritchard, which accounted for the legal fees of almost £150,000.
Palmer, the former chief executive of Financial Limited, had appealed the FCA’s decision to ban him and impose a fine of £86,691. This followed the FCA’s ruling that Financial Limited had allowed advisers had given potentially unsuitable advice to 40,000 customers.
The appeal was heard in the FCA’s Upper Tribunal, but was rejected in August.
The FCA confirmed that internal legal staff costs were effectively zero. A spokesman for the regulator said: “Internal lawyers do not incur costs or bill the FCA for time spent on a case.”
At the centre of this ruling was the FCA’s concerns about Financial Limited’s light touch to compliance and the sale of high risk products, like unregulated collective investment schemes. The FCA drew attention to marketing materials that offered advisers “maximum assistance minimal interference.”
Palmer had previous been fined £49,000 by the then regulator after concerns were raised about unsuitable pension switching advice.
Palmer had previous told Money Marketing that he disagreed with the regulator’s findings. He said the company was prepared to accept an “error rate” of around 2 per cent of the products advised on being mis-sold.
Following the initial FCA investigation, Financial Limited was acquired by Tavistock, in 2015. In the past two months it has emerged that the company is looking to sell this advice business for around £1.5m. Tavistock as 120 firms and 150 advisers on its books. However, it is not known whether concerns about legacy liabilities may deter potential buyers.