HMCTS (Tribunal) has dismissed two applications made by an applicant against the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The FCA had given a Decision Notice to Przemyslaw Soszynski t/a Phenix Consultancy (Applicant) refusing its application to carry on regulated claims management activities on the basis that it had not been able to demonstrate that it can meet the FCA’s standards. The firm had been operating under a temporary permission since FCA took over regulation of CMCs. When it applied for full authorisation, FCA was concerned that, among other things, it informed FCA it should not have to provide detailed operation on how it operated, and could not show it had adequate PII cover, financial resources or arrangements in place for protecting client money. Moreover, its sole trader owner was not a qualified lawyer and did not have rights of audience, and the firm lacked the controls to protect the interests of its consumer customers.
The Applicant applied to the Tribunal to have the FCA’s Decision Notice reviewed and for its effects to be suspended while the Tribunal considered the matter. The Applicant argued that he wished to continue advising on 4 ongoing cases and that, if he could not, the Polish speaking clients would be disadvantaged as they would find it hard, and more expensive, to find an alternative adviser.
The Tribunal said that clearly the applicant had a serious case to answer and that if, on the hearing of the reference against the FCA’s decision not to authorise, its concerns were shown to be well founded, that was clearly capable of justifying a refusal to authorise. In respect of the suspension application, the Tribunal considered the limited nature of the services the applicant wanted to provide. However, it found it had insufficient evidence to understand that the impacted customers would be seriously prejudiced, and there was no evidence the firm would make any effort to provide any further information to the FCA nor carry on its business in a compliant manner. The Tribunal was not satisfied that the direction to suspend the effect of the notice would not prejudice the interests of consumers and the suspension application was dismissed.
The Tribunal also considered the applicant’s disclosure application. He had asked for the disclosure of information on other cases FCA had been considering so that he could assess whether he had been victimised for not being British. This was also dismissed “because the Authority’s processes are not matters which the Tribunal can properly consider”. The matters requested were clearly irrelevant to a determination of whether FCA was right to arrive at its ultimate decision.