The life office and fund management arms of Pearl have been hit with a £100,000 fine by the FSA for failing to carry out customer orders on its share-exchange service Sharewise in a timely manner.
Pearl Unit Trusts and Pearl Assurance have also been ordered to pay £345,854 in compensation to 1,617 customers and FSA costs of £18,343.
The delays in carrying out customer orders were caused by late submission of documents to the head office by the Pearl salesforce and it is compensating customers for the losses arising from these failures.
Sharewise sells shares for clients and invests the proceeds either in a product offered by its unit trust or life office arms. The breaches took place between October 1993 and April 1999.
Since February 2000, Pearl, which is now owned by Australian giant AMP, has implemented a training programme for its direct salesforce in relation to these compliance failings, AMP communications manager Sacha Hardy says: “Pearl extends its apologies to its customers who have been inconvenienced by the situation created by its free share exchange service. Pearl discovered the problem, which was caused by a delay of applications submitted by post from its sales force, through internal compliance checks. Immediate action was taken to report the matter to the regulator. As a result processes have been improved and the problem eliminated.”