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Firm spotted bias but failed to stop advisers

Park Row: FSA’s final notice

Park Row and its advisers failed to ensure sales were suitable and provide evidence of suitability when advising on pensions, investments, bonds, mortgages, structured products and annuities.

In its final notice, the FSA says between January 2007 and January 2009, Park Row failed to ensure its systems and controls were adequate to manage the risk of the business and ensure suitability of advice through compliance checks.

During this period, the FSA informed Park Row it did not have sufficient controls to ensure that customer files demonstrated the suitability of sales and advice.

This included pension advice, advisers providing advice when not authorised and the risk of commission influencing the selection of products.

Park Row received several reports highlighting concerns relating to advice given and the quality of compliance controls. The firm identified instances when advisers gave advice when they did not have the required FSA permissions but did not take adequate steps to assess if this was a systemic issue.

Senior management sent an email to advisers in June 2008, stating there was evidence of advisers seeking higher-commission pension plans.

The FSA says the email made it clear this was wholly unacceptable but the firm did not conduct any further work to determine if there may have been other instances of commission bias.

Park Row undertook compliance audits of pension advice in October 2007 which found there was potentially unsuitable advice given for pension transfers while the vast majority of Sipp recommendations failed to demonstrate the customer would use the product facilities. No further work was completed at the time to consider if unsuitable advice may have occurred elsewhere.

A wider review of the firm’s pension advice is being conducted following the results of another external review, which concluded that, of 94 pension cases, 26 per cent were unsuitable.

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. As an ex Park Row adviser of 18months standing and 20 years in the industry I am appauled at all these revelations as they are coming out. I did not join the company until July 2008 so had nothing to do with the email in June 2008 either.I have never in my whole 20 years in htis industry done anything untoward ever.I have never been involved in the SIPP market and have never given advice for which I am not qualified……however I am being treated as if I have.I have had my income in the Profession I have been working in for all these years stopped due to no fault of mine-I also have to add that we were in our office heavily scrutinised on every piece of business we wrote. I am blessed in that my clients are extremely supportive of me indeed and are happy to wait until I get my registration. The faceless people who work for the FSA need to see how they would feel if they had their income stopped through no fault of their own but of course they have salaries coming in every month so they would not understand this would they. In order to deal with the financial side of this I have had to put my house up for rental and move into my sons apartment in order to reduce my outgoings.T here ar emany people in financial services who have done good in the industry and who are penalised because of the few who have done terrible things to disadvantage clients and the FSA have continued to keep them on the register and allow them to practise and in some cases reregister them when they had to leave Park Row. I have always prided myself on treating customers fairly in fact more than fairly I go the extra mile always- I do not think that the FSA are doing this are they?

  2. I have just been offered the difference of where my penision is now, and where it would have been had I not met Steve Peckham of Park Row. Should I be pushing for a compensation on top? The reason I took Steve Peckhams advice was I was told my pension had been performing poorly. I feel I should at least be offered a sum of money equal to where my pension is now and where it could have been, had I been given fair advice. Any help would be appreciated.

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