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SJP trainee adviser banned and fined for faking qualifications

WhitepaperA 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.”


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Gregory Clarke 14th May 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Judge to Stuart:

    We’ve charged you on three counts,

    1. Falsifying examination results
    2. Locking clients in with exit penalties
    3. Taking commission as a supposed fee

    How do you plead?

    Stuart to Judge:

    I’m guilty as sin for the falsifying bit but as I work for SJP the other two are perfectly acceptable behaviour, though no-one has ever been able to explain why!!

  2. sanjay sanjay 14th May 2018 at 9:33 pm

    I am not authorised currently.

    But I am pretty sure that before applying for authorisation, that every firm that I worked for wanted to see proof of qualifications either the old FPC, or more recently the relevant certificates issued on completion of level 4 examinations.

    SJP really are unprofessional in every sense of the word.

  3. Julian Stevens 15th May 2018 at 9:17 am

    So who uncovered this duplicity? SJP or the FCA? My reading of the article suggests it to have been the latter rather than the former, not least because, had it been SJP, they would (not unreasonably) have quietly dismissed him with a view to avoiding any negative publicity. If this is the case, it does rather call into question the thoroughness of SJP’s due diligence on the people it recruits.

  4. How many more of SJP are not qualified. FCA ask them all to produce evidence they are or is that to much hard work

  5. James Hurdman 15th May 2018 at 9:53 am

    How did the CII not know he hadn’t passed their own exams? Bizarre.

    • My thoughts entirely, James. Clearly at the CII the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

      And before people start bleating about GDPR, that is at the very least a legitimate interest if not a legal obligation.

  6. Anybody heard of the FCA register or checking with the CII? How can they claim ‘best of breed’recruitment when their due diligence didn’t identify fraud at the outset?

  7. Looks like everyone at SJP is duping everyone!!


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