Two financial advisers banned as they “lack integrity”

Two men have been banned from working within financial services after the Financial Conduct Authority declared they clack integrity.

Mark Kelly ran PCD Wealth and Pensions Management (PCD) with Mr Gray as an adviser. Between 2008 and 2010 PCD arranged for over 350 customers to be advised and invested nearly £24 million of customers’ funds in potentially unsuitable investments. PCD also failed to declare to customers the fees it was receiving from a number of these investments.

Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA said: “These two individuals misused pension funds, endangering the retirement incomes of hundreds of people. While further investigations continue, the FCA considers it necessary to prohibit them to help protect consumers.”

Between August 2008 and July 2010 the FCA say Mr Kelly invested customers’ pension funds in risky investments without customers’ knowledge or consent. The process was designed to prevent customers from discovering where their funds had been invested and without any regard to the suitability of the investments for the customers.

Mr Kelly also received some money from product providers taken directly out of customers’ investments, without their knowledge. He arranged for this to be paid directly into a bank account in his name.

Mr Gray provided investment advice to at least five customers in the knowledge that he had no qualifications or training to do so.  In one case he gave unsuitable advice to a customer to invest in an unregulated collective investment scheme (UCIS).

The FCA say Mr Gray also recklessly provided customers with misleading information in relation to costs and charges and arranged for customers to sign incomplete investment forms despite being aware of the risk that fees could later be added to the forms (and taken from customers’ funds) without their knowledge.
In addition Mr Gray gave customers pension reports containing false and misleading assurances that they would receive advice on their investments even though, from October 2009, Mr Gray knew that funds were being invested without their consent or knowledge. He also misled the FCA in a compelled interview.

According to the FCA, neither individual can be fined as they were not approved persons at the time of the misconduct.

The FCA understands that further investigations are continuing.

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