The FSA has censured and banned a partner at Sipp operator HD Administrators for failing to fulfil her regulatory responsibilities, saying she was “totally out of her depth”.
Michele King became a partner at HD Administrators in August 2008. Prior to this she was an accounts administrator at the firm carrying out minor administrative tasks.
The FSA says King failed to understand the nature of the company’s business, and did not involve herself or keep informed about management decisions.
King would have been fined £20,000 were it not for evidence the penalty would cause serious financial hardship.
FSA head of retail enforcement Bill Sillett says: “What we have found shows King was totally out of her depth in her role as partner at HD Administrators and failed to take her responsibilities seriously.”
HD Administrators was wound up in June. The Serious Fraud Office and Nottinghamshire Police are currently investigating allegations of criminal activity at an unregulated company connected to HD Administrators.
HD Administrators operated the HD Sipp scheme which had around 420 members. The FSA suspended HD Administrator’s permission in March, preventing it from operating and paying out any funds, after Nottingham Police arrested two of the HD Sipp trustees.
Money Marketing revealed in March that investors used HD Sipp to invest their pension savings in an overseas property development scheme. Following the liquidation of Arck LLP, which operated the scheme, investors could be facing losses of up to £60m.
Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton says: “If something is happening that is not right, the regulator should be advised.”