FCA fines compliance officer £75k

The FCA has fined compliance oversight officer David Watters £75,000 for putting clients at risk of unsuitable pension transfer advice.

The regulator says David Watters failed to exercise due skill, care and diligence his role at FGS McClure Watters and Lanyon Astor Buller.

The FGS business was transferred to Laynon Astor Buller in 2008, and is no longer authorised.

Around 500 clients across both advice firms transferred from their defined benefit pension to a defined contribution scheme, with a combined value of around £12.7m.

The FCA says Watters failed to ensure the advice process relating to enhanced transfer value exercises was adequate. It says this put clients at “serious risk” of receiving unsuitable advice to transfer.

The regulator says Watters failed to consider whether the advice process was compliant, did not have a sufficient understanding of the regulations, and did not get an appropriate third party to review the pension transfer process.

He also failed to ensure advisers were properly monitored.

Lanyon Astor Buller will contact affected clients and pay redress where appropriate.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “It was Mr Watters’ responsibility to take reasonable steps to put in place a compliant advice process.  His failure to do this placed customers at risk of needlessly losing valuable benefits for their retirement.”