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.