FCA has fined a compliance oversight officer for failure to exercise due skill, care and diligence while working at two firms specialising in pension transfers (one of which was transferred to the other). It fined David Watters £75,000 for failing to ensure the process in place at both firms for giving advice on enhanced transfer value pension transfer exercises was adequate and met regulatory standards. FCA said Mr Watters had:
- failed properly to consider whether the advice process was compliant
- not taken reasonable steps to understand the regulatory requirements
- not obtained an appropriate third party view of the processes to ensure compliance and
- failed to take reasonable steps to ensure advisers were properly monitored to reduce the risk of unsuitable advice being given
Around 500 customers of the firms had transferred from a DB to a DC scheme, and FCA says that in many cases it may have been unnecessary for them to do so. The firm will contact all affected customers and pay redress where there has been loss.
FCA’s Final Notice gives no indication of any further action against the firm – but this may be because he is the chairman and sole shareholder in the firm.