FCA wins battle to ban former network boss

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The FCA has succeeded in its battle to ban and fine Charlie Palmer, the former chief executive of adviser network Financial Limited.

Palmer began an appeal of his £86,691 FCA fine earlier this year. The regulator found that Palmer had allowed Financial Limited’s advisers to give potentially unsuitable advice through a light touch approach to compliance.

High-risk products like unregulated collective investment schemes were at the centre of the FCA’s concerns, which drew attention to marketing materials that offered advisers “maximum assistance minimal interference” if they joined the network as a demonstration of the lack of restrictions in the Financial Limited model.

Palmer’s appeal was rejected in an Upper Tribunal hearing yesterday.

The fine is the second Palmer has received, after being investigated by previous regulator the Financial Services Authority in 2009 and then fined £49,000 a year later over risks of unsuitable pension switching advice at the firm.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward says: “Mr Palmer’s conduct fell well below the standards the FCA would expect of a senior manager of an authorised firm.  His conduct was made worse by the fact that he did not learn lessons from, and address the failings highlighted to him in, 2010.”

Financial Limited had nearly 400 appointed representatives at its peak, and the FCA says around 40,000 clients were put at risk.

Financial Limited was bought by Tavistock in 2015, and advisers were moved to form part of a new network, Tavistock Financial.

Fund Strategy’s sister title Money Marketing understands that Tavistock is currently looking to sell Tavistock Financial.

Palmer can ask to appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal if he wishes.