The FCA has removed Catalyst Fund Management’s permission to offer advice for having no qualified advisers.
It is the first time the regulator has taken such action since the introduction of the RDR.
In a supervisory notice published today, the FCA says Catalyst is a personal investment firm and is permitted to conduct the regulated activity of advising on investments for retail customers.
However, it does not have any employees who are qualified retail investment advisers and despite repeated requests from the FCA has failed to apply to vary its permission so that it is not permitted to conduct retail investment business.
The FCA says Catalyst has not been “open and co-operative” in all its dealings with the regulator, namely by failing to respond to the requests to vary its permission.
It says the firm is posing a risk to the FCA’s consumer protection objective, and has required it to notify all its retail customers in writing that it is no longer permitted to carry out regulated activity.
FCA long-term savings and pensions supervision director Nick Poyntz-Wright says: “One of our objectives is to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, which means that we will work to ensure that firms can only offer advice to consumers if they have qualified advisers.”
The FCA says Catalyst Fund Management is a separate firm to Catalyst Investment Group, the life settlement firm which was censured by the regulator in October for misleading investors when promoting bonds issued by Luxembourg life-settlement vehicle ARM Asset Backed Securities.
The two firms are, however, based at the same address, and have a director in common, Timothy Roberts.
The FCA says Catalyst Fund Management is a fund management firm which had permission to provide investment advice to retail clients. Catalyst Investment Group was authorised to undertake a number of investment activities but not to provide retail investment advice.