The UK financial regulator has punished a number of wealth managers operating in the country for various shortcomings as it seeks to prevent mis-selling and sales of inappropriate products to clients.
A few days ago, the Financial Services Authority, the UK financial regulator, fined Coutts, the UK private bank, concerning sales of a fund. It is not alone: a number of wealth management firms have been punished by the FSA over the sale of certain financial products, part of a move by the regulator to ensure that products and services sold to clients are suitable.
Earlier this year, the FSA sent a “Dear CEO” letter to a number of UK firms following concerns it had over whether clients were being put into inappropriately risky financial products.
To date, a number of firms have been punished. Here are some of the most prominent:
Towry – formerly known as Towry Law - was fined £494,000 (around $770,000) for giving misleading information to the FSA.
The FSA had contacted firms asking them to check they were not putting client money at risk. Towry incorrectly told the FSA it complied fully with how to handle client money as laid out under the watchdog’s Client Asset Sourcebook (CASS) approach.
The FSA fined Coutts & Co £6.3 million (around $10.1 million) for failings linked to the sale of an AIG fund. Coutts agreed to carry out a past business review, overseen by an independent third party and will compensate all customers who have suffered a loss as a result of its failings.
The FSA fined Credit Suisse (UK) £5.95 million ($9.5 million) for “systems and control failings” at the private banking arm, confirming months of speculation that the Swiss firm was to be hit with a big fine. The failings related to “sales by its private bank of structured capital at risk products (SCARPs)”.
The UK bank was fined £7.7 million by the FSA “for failures in relation to the sale of two funds”. Between July 2006 and November 2008 Barclays sold Aviva’s Global Balanced Income Fund (the Balanced Fund) and Global Cautious Income Fund (the Cautious Fund) to 12,331 people with investments totalling £692 million.