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MM leader: FSA is treating ex-Park Row advisers unfairly

Our thoughts are with the many former Park Row advisers who are currently in limbo due to the fact they have not yet gained re-authorisation from the FSA after the firm was wound down.

These advisers have not been able to conduct business for over a month and many are concerned the FSA is dragging its feet in the reauthorisation process.

Under FSA rules, it can take up to three months to allow re-authorisation and the regulator has written to a large sample of Park Row’s 240 advisers asking for additional information.

Given the current FSA investigation into Park Row’s systems and controls, it is understandable that the regulator will be keeping a close eye on proceedings.

But whatever the reason for the delay, the result is that in the run-up to Christmas many advisers have been unable to earn a living and their clients are unable to receive advice.

It appears that ex-Park Row advisers are either the victims of an over-zealous regulator which believes that leaving most of them without work is a price worth paying as it evaluates their quality, or a regulator struggling due to a heavy workload. Either way, the situation is very unsatisfactory.

One ex-Park Row adviser summed up the feeling of many others on our website when he expressed their frustration that, through no fault of his own, he was unable to help or advise his clients due to the FSA’s actions.

The adviser is well qualified with 10 years of industry experience, a 100 per cent pass rate on file checks and no complaints, yet has effectively been banned from doing his job.

Surely, a better way could have been found to allaying any FSA concerns? If the regulator is so worried about some of these advisers, would not a better approach have been to allow re-authorisation but increase supervision on individual advisers to evaluate their quality?

The FSA’s lack of communications on this issue is also hugely frustrating for advisers desperate to know where they stand.

If the FSA does conclude that there have been regulatory failings at Park Row, then those responsible should receive the appropriate punishment.

But as it currently stands, these advisers, and their clients, are being punished without any proof of guilt, a situation which is totally unacceptable.



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There are 6 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. This article makes valid points. The FSA knew as early as September that Park Row was winding down and that it’s advisers would be de-authorised on 13 Nov. The FSA therefore had plenty of time to prepare for the 240 or so advisers to be re-authorised. Considering the FSA have been practically resident in Park Row’s offices for the last 2 or 3 years why is it only now they are asking for the extra information from advisers. These advisers are in the hands of a skeleton staff now left at Park Row who are slowly trying to collate the extra information that the FSA need. So between the FSA and the controllers of Park Row more than 200 advisers and their families are left to make do on their savings without the ability to write new business. Furthermore these advisers are not allowed to be paid their trail/fund based income until they are re-authorised. The rest of the adviser community outside of Park Row should take heed, it could be you next!

  2. Thanks for making people aware of the issues affecting ex-Park Row advisers.

    If we were employed we would have a union to support us.

    It was mentioned in the responses to a previous article that Park Row had gotten rid of some bad eggs earlier in the year, who the FSA were only too happy to re-license in their new homes, yet now the remaining advisers who I would like to think are all compliant are being made to suffer.

    What really stinks is that the FSA told Park Row that if advisers joined Tenet Group or Personal Touch they would be fast tracked to their new homes, but now there is an apparent change of mind. TYPICAL!

    With this lot and RDR looming, I wouldn’t encourage anybody to join this industry. The sales processes in place now make it very difficult to earn a living giving the average man in the street advice,as you can’t see enough people due to the administrative / compliance burden.

    Independent advice will only be available to the rich if things carry on as they are, due to a lack of advisers, and the banks will be rubbing their hands.

  3. “Park Row closed on 13th November 2009 and my application to the FSA was forwarded on 18th. , normally it only takes a fortnight to re register, but it is coming up to four weeks now and no word yet, three weeks later we receive further requests for more information from the FSA. The FSA and Park Row knew when Park Row’s closure would be, and they have done the minimal amount of work, all claiming it is enough. Are we paying a price for Park Rows shoddy senior management, who claimed our loyalty, promised a five star treatment approved by the FSA if we transferred to selected companies, what a fiasco this is turning out to be? Those senior management individuals will no doubt end up at some other financial services company at a later date repeating the mistakes which have caused Park Row’s failure, but the IFA’s who have had to suffer a claustrophobic system for the past couple of years, are the only ones left in the firing line.

    It is easy to forget that we are self employed, but we also need to work and earn income, just like everyone else in the UK. The FSA and Park Row have forgotten that we do not receive a pay check at the end of the month as they will, whatever the regulator decides as a matter of policy they should not be stopping us from working. There must be a law against this. I do blame the FSA for allowing the delay. The FSA do after all have too much power and show a complete disregard for the professionalism of the individuals whom they regulate. Come on FSA get a grip as you have no doubt forgotten it is the festive period and goodwill to all good men – or are we hoping too much from the FSA – probably.”

  4. Had gone past the stage of anger but it’s now returning.
    TCF has gone totally out of the window from the FSA’s point of view – how would they view these levels of delays from us in responding to client requests for action?
    Who will be held responsible/liable if I am unable to advise clients on necessary fund switches and client loses money? I’m sure the FSA won’t compensate them but I am keeping records all of the switches that I would have recommended at client reviews that have been due since 13th November (as well as telephone calls from clients asking for advice on switches),
    This mess goes far deeper than the ability to earn a living.

  5. Is there is more to this than meets the eye? Is the big question really why are so many advisers afraid of being directly authorised? Other questions are: is this the result of a failure at the former firm?

    If anyone wants an eye opening reason why they should not work for lousy companies they should look at what PWC have done as administrators of a failed network, one former member has been billed for £675,000 by debt collectors who ‘bought’ the book of ‘debt’ from PWC, sums in excess of £100,000 for individual claims ‘paid’ are very odd, watch this space and contact this paper if you are a former BBB member faced with fictitious claims.

  6. Re: Anonymous | 21 Dec 2009 2:25 pm

    ‘Is there is more to this than meets the eye? Is the big question really why are so many advisers afraid of being directly authorised’

    What are you implying, how is that the big question, I am sure any one of them would love to go direct but don’t have the luxury of the capital adequacy required, if they have any savings they are now being used to sustain their families, that is the situation for me after 2 and half months of waiting for the FSA.

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