FCA expels County Capital Wealth Management financial adviser Mark Abley and pays £106,100 to Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for improper advice on pension transfers to BSPS members I ordered you.
CCWM (currently in liquidation) is an IFA company based in Spennymoor, County Durham, which was declared default in July 2022.
Regulators said Mr Avery had earned £60,000 in what he called “incompetence”, including payments from hundreds of BSPS members.
Mr Avery was ordered to pay FSCS, not FCA, £106,100 as liability to CCWM’s customers.
If he fails to pay the money or part of it, the FCA said it would enforce the fine.
According to the regulator, County Capital Wealth Management funded 575 defined benefit pension plans between April 2015 and February 2018, including about 150 members of the UK Steel Pension Plan. advised to move out.
The FCA said Avery was responsible for the advice, with more than half (56%) failing to meet the required standards, indicating incompetence. At least he received a monetary benefit of £60,000 for his advice.
The FCA said Mr. Avery did not have the information necessary to make appropriate recommendations or properly assess whether the client understands and is willing to bear the financial risks involved in transferring a guaranteed annuity. Stated.
The regulator said it failed to provide evidence that the transfer was in the customer’s best interests. There were also errors in the calculations used in comparing the client’s existing pension plan with the proposed transition plan.
“Mr Avery’s incompetence meant he was unable to provide clients with the advice they needed to make important retirement decisions,” said Therese Chambers, FCA’s co-executive director of law enforcement and market oversight. Stated. This included hundreds of people who were dealing with uncertainty over Britain’s steel pension scheme.
“He was earning a commission while putting his retirement benefits at risk. It’s only natural that he contributes to the cost of compensating these customers.”
The average transfer amount for clients included in the 18 files examined by the FCA was £287,943. Transfer fees ranged from £51,218 to £826,875.
In six cases, the FSCS awarded plaintiffs the highest available compensation of £85,000. Without the £85,000 limit of coverage, the total compensation paid to the customer would have been around £2.36 million.
CCWM’s Professional Indemnity Insurance offers up to £1.75m of coverage, which could reduce the burden on the FSCS.
Mr. Avery settled the lawsuit, which qualified him for a 30% discount on the penalty.
As of 14 March 2023, FSCS had upheld 53 pension transfer claims against CCWM and paid over £2.1m in compensation to CCWM clients. Customers who are advised to transfer should contact FSCS to see if they have any remedial obligations.