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FSA fines Liberata £525,000 for system failures

The FSA has fined third party administration firm Liberata Financial Services Limited £525,000 for failures in its systems and controls concerning documents for its life and pensions policyholders.

The regulator says Liberata’s failings meant there was an unacceptable risk that its 1.3 million policyholders would not receive important financial information to help with their investment decisions.

The failings resulted in 30,000 policyholders not receiving information, of whom 161 suffered financial loss amounting to £17,584.

The FSA determined that the firm acted recklessly in failing to heed warnings in its management information that documents were not being produced.

The firm says it has made changes to its senior management and appointed external consultants to help review its document production system, analyse the potential impact on policyholders and ensure that all appropriate documents have now been provided to policyholders.

Liberata agreed to settle at an early stage of the FSA’s investigation and therefore qualified for a 30 per cent discount of the fine. Without the discount the fine would have been £750,000.

FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole says: “The failings by Liberata were particularly serious because they put policyholders at risk of not receiving important information about their savings and pensions products. This resulted in customers not being treated fairly.

“The fine we have imposed on Liberata acts as a clear signal to firms to ensure that there are appropriate systems and controls around processes and, where there are problems, that such problems are identified and resolved swiftly.”

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