Palmer’s firm also owns IFA TV and Palmer himself (pictured) regularly presents videos on the website. One of the firm’s videos, which does not feature Palmer himself, asks where the FSA is heading next with its pension switching visits (see clip 1 below), while a second video talks in details about the FSA’s crackdown on pension switching advice (see clip 2 below).
Financial Ltd has agreed to carry out a past business review, which may lead to customer redress if it is found that unsuitable advice was given.
During its investigation, the FSA found shortcomings in the way the firm organised its business and how responsibility for monitoring advisers was allocated to senior management. In turn, this led to concerns about the monitoring of the quality of pension switching advice given by advisers between April 2006 and August 2008.
The FSA found that Palmer failed to establish and maintain a clear and appropriate reporting structure to ensure senior management understood and carried out their responsibilities for monitoring the network’s advisers.
It also found he failed to ensure the firm complied with rules and requirements to ensure that pension switching advice was demonstrably suitable and ensure that the firm recruited sufficient and adequate compliance and support staff during a period rapid expansion of the firm’s network of advisers.
FSA’s director of enforcement and financial crime Margaret Cole says: “This is the second enforcement action we have taken following the FSA’s review of pension switching advice. As the director of the firm, Palmer was personally accountable for failing to take the steps needed to manage the risk of advisers giving potentially unsuitable advice during a period when the IFA network was expanding so rapidly.
“As we have demonstrated with this case, and the Tenon example last week, we are following up on our promise to take action against firms who are failing to offer customers suitable pension switching advice.”
Because Palmer co-operated fully with the FSA and agreed to settle at an early stage of the FSA’s investigation, he qualified for a 30% reduction in penalty. Were it not for this discount, the FSA would have imposed a financial penalty of £70,000.