FSA fines adviser £100k for Ucis mis-selling



The Financial Services Authority has fined an advisory firm £97,600 for failings related to the recommendation of unregulated collective investment schemes (Ucis).

In a final notice dated February 13th, the regulator revealed Derbyshire-based firm Topps Rogers was issued with the penalty for compliance failures involving management control and relationships of trust.

Topps is no longer regulated, with the FSA stating its compliance misgivings occurred between May 2004 and June 2010.

The company breached Principle 9 of the FSA’s guidelines, as it did not take sufficient care to ensure Ucis recommendations were appropriate for its customers.

The FSA said: ”Customer files did not explain whether or how any exemption applied to each customer to whom a Ucis transaction was recommended.”

Among the firm’s failings was the disclosure that it did not obtain sufficient financial and personal information about customers to determine Ucis suitability.

The regulator added that some customer files contained limited handwritten file notes.

The watchdog said that Topps had also breached Principle 3 as it did not establish and implement compliance arrangements over its business, which included ensuring the suitability of its advice.

As a result of these failings, 94 customers were advised to invest an estimated £12 million in Ucis, either directly through advisers or indirectly through Sipp or wrap platforms.

Mr Martin Rigney, a senior adviser with the firm, was prohibited from performing any function in relation to regulated activity carried on by any authorised person, the FSA said.

He has referred the decision notice to the Upper Tribunal.

The city regulator said: “The FSA is not satisfied that Topps Rogers is fit and proper having regard to all the circumstances, including its connection with Mr Rigney who is considered not to be a fit and proper person to perform controlled functions.”