The regulator says the firm will also have to compensate affected clients for the “substantial” losses incurred.
The FSA found the firm missold some pension transfers and pension annuities by recommending products to customers who already had adequate existing pension provisions or whose attitude to risk did not match the products recommended to them.
Up to 800 customers may have received unsuitable advice in relation to 1,200 sales between February 2006 and October 2007. During the period the net commission generated from the sales of such products was £8.6m.
The FSA says its work revealed the firm sometimes failed to properly disclose the risks and costs of the products it recommended, and was also unable to demonstrate the suitability of its advice from its own records in 39 per cent of the transactions which were reviewed.
Based on a sample of recommendations, the FSA found that 28 per cent of transactions resulted in mis-sales.
FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole says: “The FSA will report on its thematic work into the pensions transfer industry shortly to identify good and bad practice and demonstrate further to firms what we expect of them. Firms must take note of this work and amend their own processes where necessary.”
AWD Group chief executive Mike Kirsch says: “We very much regret the regulatory lapses which occurred in the past and our new management team has worked very closely with the FSA to correct matters.
“We regard any lapse in our standards as unacceptable, however fewer than one per cent of our clients have been affected and we are in the process of identifying all the cases and taking steps to address and compensate clients for any potential loss. I would like to apologise to all our clients who have been affected.
“We have restructured our senior management and sales management and completely overhauled our compliance and advisory processes to ensure that our standards are now among the best in the industry.”