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Coutts suitability review: how serious is FCA about RDR?

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Coutts suitability review: how serious is FCA about RDR?

One wealth manager has urged the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to come out of the woodwork following news that Coutts has issued a suitability warning to all UK clients.

SG Wealth Management director and former cover star Neil Shillito (pictured) believes the news, which was exclusively revealed by Wealth Manager yesterday, is an example of how the principles of RDR are not being taken seriously enough by the watchdog. 

Shillito believes the RBS-owned wealth firm should receive more than just a 'wrap on the knuckles' for what he sees as a 'very large breach' of mistrust for Coutts clients.

The news raises fresh concerns about the quality of Coutts' investment advice after it was fined £6.3 million in November 2011 for putting clients into an unsuitable AIG bond.

Coutts is taking this latest episode extremely seriously, with chief executive Michael Morley telling Wealth Manager it intends to review every client investment dating back to 1957.

'As we approached the RDR it became very clear to me that we needed to put in place a service that looked and felt very different to the process we had before. We wanted to set the standard for what we thought it should look like in the new world,’ Morley explained.

‘If we didn’t apply that historically, can we say with absolute certainty and conviction that all of our investment sales have genuinely been suitable? The only way to get this certainty was to go back and look at every investment our clients have had at the date of implementation by Coutts of the RDR on 26 November 2012.’

Shillito believes the news will simply add to the mistrust in the financial services sector and said the onus is now on the FCA to address the situation.

'As yet there has been no statement from the FCA on the matter; the nature of its agreement reached with Coutts or whether there would be any public criticism of the bank which would enhance the credibility of the regulator in the publics’ eye as an organisation dedicated to exposing wrong-doing and enforcing ‘best practise'.'

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