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Guilty by association

THE EDITOR’S COMMENT OF THE WEEK

As someone who was only with Park Row for eight months, I have to say that the desk-based monitoring compliance was the most thorough and detailed compliance process I have experienced in over 10 years.

As a result of my brief spell with Park Row, I was unable to work for six months as my re-authorisation was held up along with every other application. Guilty by association. Fit and proper up until November 13, 2009 and from what I know, the FSA had been investigating Park Row for a number of years and had implemented a number of changes.

So the FSA were aware of every adviser and deemed them fit and proper. Park Row withdraw their authorisation on November 13 and over 240 advisers are suddenly deemed not fit and proper.

After six months of severe financial difficulty, paying off admin staff, remortgaging my home just to survive, cancelling Christmas and birthdays and barely scraping by, I got my authorisation through. Not one case or file was subject to review or questioning. Did I receive an apology? Hell no.

The FSA stopped me from working for six months and after the six months, when finally realising that, like many other advisers, I am fit and proper, it kindly approved me to work again.

I am all for compliance and getting rid of the few bad apples within our industry but the way the FSA treat IFAs is criminal.

The failings at Park Row were down to the management and structure of the company. They were responsible for the compliance, systems & controls and all the other issues that the FSA have with them. Not the front-line staff.

There is a group of advisers looking at legal action against Park Row and I really hope we win this as they have treated us like dirt.

Ex-Park Row adviser

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