A St James’s Place advice recruit has been fined and banned after he falsely claimed to hold CII qualifications.
Former SJP trainee adviser Alexander Stuart has been ordered to pay a £34,000 fine by 28 September after telling senior supervisors at the firm that he was fully qualified to provide advice.
According to the FCA final notice, between 2014 and 2016, Stuart misled both SJP and the CII into accepting he had passed the R03, R04, R05 and R06 examinations. The FCA says Stuart failed the R05 examination, and had never sat the R03, R04 and the R06 tests.
On 3 December 2014 Stuart told his supervisor he had passed the R04 examination during a progress meeting. On 1 April 2015, he again misled his supervisor saying he had passed the R02 examination.
The regulator says Stuart made “false and misleading statements to SJP and to the CII about his passing of examinations to attain the Level 4 Qualification namely, the CII’s Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.”
As well as falsifying learning statements for proof of qualification from the CII in late 2015 and early 2016 for SJP, Stuart also provided the documents to CII claiming he was a holder of its level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
Stuart had not in fact passed all the examinations referred to in the false documentation.
The FCA says Stuart is now “prohibited from performing any function in relation to any regulated activities carried on by an authorised or exempt person, or exempt professional firm.”
Stuart resigned in February 2016.
Speaking in February following the firm’s year-end results for 2017, chief executive Andrew Croft said SJP was committed to its academy program which trains advisers in-house, and retains a “best of breed” approach to recruitment.
A SJP spokesman says: “St. James’s Place is committed to maintaining excellent professional standards and ensuring clients have access to the highest levels of knowledge and expertise. We take this responsibility very seriously and have stringent compliance procedures in place to address isolated incidents such as this.”
He says: “Action was taken to suspend Stuart as soon as it became known that false statements and documents had been provided in relation to his qualifications. No financial detriment has been incurred by clients and he is no longer at the partner practice concerned.”