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Financial adviser accuses FCA of failing in its duty in dealings with Coutts

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06/06/2014
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has come under fire from a financial adviser who believes it is failing in its duty to "expose wrong-doing and enforce 'best practice'".

SG Wealth Management director Neil Shillito voiced his frustration at the regulator’s failure to respond publicly to Thursday’s news that private bank Coutts is reviewing its clients’ investment portfolios over suitability concerns.

Shillito claimed the apparent failure to respond publicly to the bank’s review meant Retail Distribution Review (RDR) principles of trust and transparency are not being taken seriously enough by the FCA.

It was reported in the Financial Times that Coutts chief executive Michael Morley has written to UK clients warning them they might have been exposed to unsuitable investments over the past decades.

The bank said it is reviewing the suitability of advice given to investment clients after it “struck a deal” with the regulator.

But Shillito argued it is clear from the the fact a review is necessary that Coutts failed to protect its customers in the past and the FCA should have come down harder on the bank.

He said: “As yet there has been no statement from the FCA on the matter; the nature of its agreement reached with Coutts or whether there would be any public criticism of the bank, which would enhance the credibility of the regulator in the public’s eye as an organisation dedicated to exposing wrong-doing and enforcing ‘best practice’.”

However, the FCA said it could not issue a comment for legal reasons.

A spokesman said: “We are unable to disclosure information which the FCA receives for the purposes of carrying out its regulatory functions, under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.”

Coutts was fined £8.75m by the regulator in 2012 for failing to establish effective anti-money laundering systems and controls.

 

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