In 2008, the FSA conducted an industry-wide probe into money market funds. It asked questions about the marketing of the funds, which will have covered Standard Life’s pension sterling fund.
In January 2009, Standard Life revalued its pension sterling fund, resulting in a fall in value of almost 5 per cent. After an outcry from advisers and consumers, the firm agreed to refund the £100m losses in February 2009.
Last month, the FSA fined Standard Life £2.45m over failings that resulted in the production of misleading marketing material for its pension sterling fund.
It found that despite the majority of the fund being invested in floating-rate notes by July 2007, marketing material issued by Standard referred to the fund as being wholly invested in cash from April 2007 to April 2008.
An FSA spokesman says: “The FSA undertook an industry information-gathering exercise in respect of money market funds designed to improve our general understanding of the market. A number of firms were routinely contacted during this exercise which was not part of any enforcement-related activity.
“Although in this context, the firms’ responses did not constitute routine regulatory returns, we rightly expect that all firms provide us with full and accurate responses in all of their dealings with us.
“It is obviously a matter of regret if a firm provides us with inaccurate data and it is a matter which we take seriously.”
A Standard Life spokesman says: “We acknowledge it was not until later in 2008 that we identified the issues surrounding the pension sterling fund. We also acknowledge that mistakes were made surrounding the systems and controls over the fund.”