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Banned IFA to stand trial for unauthorised investment advice

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A banned IFA and his business partner are to stand trial for giving investment advice without being authorised by the regulator.

The FSA announced in October it was carrying out an investigation into banned West Midlands-based adviser Gary Hexley and his business partner John Cooper.

Hexley is charged with six offences relating to investment advice given whilst unauthorised, including five counts of dishonestly concealing a material fact. Cooper is charged with three counts of dishonestly concealing a material fact.

In its annual report, published last week, the regulator says in 2012/13 it focused more on banned individuals who attempt to carry on regulated activities “under the radar”.

The FCA says the charges against Hexley and Cooper relate to concealing their lack of authorisation and the suitability of products they recommended to former elderly and vulnerable clients.

Both men are due to stand trial for these offences in September.

The FSA banned and publicly censured Hexley in July 2011 for giving unsuitable investment advice. The ban related to investments set up through Hexley’s property development company, Greenfield International, in 2003, and investment advice he gave at Exclusive Asset Management between January 2009 and May 2010.

Both firms have since been put into liquidation.

Aurora Financial Planning chartered financial planner Aj Somal says: “The FCA definitely needs to be clamping down on unauthorised investment advice, particularly post-RDR. These kind of cases impact on the reputation of the whole industry.”

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