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FCA wins battle to ban former network boss

charlie palmer
Former Financial Limited chief executive Charlie Palmer

The FCA has succeeded in its battle to ban and fine Charlie Palmer, the former chief executive of adviser network Financial Limited.

Palmer began an appeal of his £86,691 FCA fine earlier this year. The regulator found that Palmer had allowed Financial Limited’s advisers to give potentially unsuitable advice through a light touch approach to compliance.

High risk products like unregulated collective investment schemes were at the centre of the FCA’s concerns, which drew attention to marketing materials that offered advisers “maximum assistance minimal interference” if they joined the network as a demonstration of the lack of restrictions in the Financial Limited model.

Financial Ltd boss defends client service in FCA ban appeal

Palmer’s appeal was rejected in an Upper Tribunal hearing yesterday.

The fine is the second Palmer has received, after being investigated by previous regulator the Financial Services Authority in 2009 and then fined £49,000 a year later over risks of unsuitable pension switching advice at the firm.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “Mr Palmer’s conduct fell well below the standards the FCA would expect of a senior manager of an authorised firm.  His conduct was made worse by the fact that he did not learn lessons from, and address the failings highlighted to him in, 2010.”

‘One in 50 cases missold is acceptable’: Ex-Financial Ltd chief Charlie Palmer opens up

Financial Limited had nearly 400 appointed representatives at its peak, and the FCA says around 40,000 clients were put at risk.

Financial Limited was bought by Tavistock in 2015, and advisers were moved to form part of a new network, Tavistock Financial.

Money Marketing understands that Tavistock is currently looking to sell Tavistock Financial.

Palmer can ask to appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal if he wishes.

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Hampshire Yokel 9th August 2017 at 11:23 am

    This is good news. This guy was openly targeting advisers / ARs that wanted little or no interference from compliance or the regulations.

    His ‘professional’ newsletters were anything but professional; littered with expletives and aggressive overtones against the regulator.

    Whilst I can understand some people feeling overwhelmed by regulation, his approach demonstrated a complete disregard for the welfare of consumers.

    • An excellent decision to remove an apparent cowbow from the industry.

      However, he is still running a compliance consultancy. Anyone using that must need there heads looked at.

      • Hampshire Yokel 9th August 2017 at 5:31 pm

        Completely agree with you Justin.

        Anyone who has wilfully acted against the regulations and taunted succesive regulators with an attitude like his and who lacks the intelligence to write business communications without resorting to profanity, is hardly an ideal adviser on compliance matters.

        I actually think that compliance consultancies should also be regulated and should have to pass similar fitness and propriety checks as the financial professionals they provide guidance to. The FCA, or an alternative regulator if necessary, should have similar powers for sanction, fines and disqualification of those individuals who have shown themselves to be incompetent, untrustworthy or dishonest.

        Intermediaries and other financial firms should have to disclose which, if any, compliance consultancies they use. The FCA could the use this information as part of the risk assessment for the firm, knowing which firms are likely to be operating on par compliance guidance.

  2. In addition to not having addressed the failings highlighted to him in 2010, Mr Palmer made things even worse for himself by publishing a string of derogatory comments about the regulator on social media. About as classic example as one can imagine of doing the proverbial on your own plate of chips. What did he expect from the regulator?

    • Hampshire Yokel 9th August 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Julian; as ever you hit the nail on the head.

      I recall your succinct, when appropriate, manner when you were part of (I like to think) far better IFA network in the late 1990s, when I occasionally conducted compliance and T&C visits to your firm in Bristol.

      Regards,
      Nigel (Hampshire Yokel)

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