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FCA clamps down on firm with no RDR-qualified advisers

by Dylan Lobo on Dec 04, 2013 at 12:58

Correction: The FCA has removed the permissions from Catalyst Fund Management not, as previously reported, Catalyst Fund Management & Research, which is a completely separate entity.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has removed the permissions of London-based firm Catalyst Fund Management because it has no qualified advisers.

This is the first time the regulator has removed a firm's permission for not having qualified advisers since the retail distribution review (RDR) was introduced on 31 December 2012.

According to the regulator Catalyst does not have any employees who are qualified retail investment advisers, yet it was listed as a personal investment firm and was permitted to conduct retail investment business.

The FCA said that made ‘repeated requests’ for Catalyst to vary its permission to make it clear it was not permitted to conduct retail investment business.

The regulator said firms that did not employ qualified retail investment advisers, while being permitted to provide investment advice to retail consumers, present a risk to the FCA's objective of consumer protection.

Nick Poyntz-Wright, FCA supervision director of long-term savings and pensions, said: 'One of our objectives is to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, which means that we will work to ensure that firms can only offer advice to consumers if they have qualified advisers.'

The FCA said Catalyst created the risk that 'retail investment advice will be provided to consumers by individuals who have not attained the relevant regulatory module of an appropriate qualification, as required following the RDR'.

‘In failing to employ qualified retail investment advisers Catalyst’s resources are not appropriate in relation to the regulated activities in relation to the provision of investment advice to retail customers, that Catalyst carries on or seeks to carry on.'

Through the RDR, advisers must be level four qualified in order to give retail investment advice.

Catalyst has the right to refer the matter to the Upper Tribunal.

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