FCA bans two for advice failings

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The Financial Conduct Authority has banned Keith Dickinson and Andrew Allen of Mansion Park Ltd, which is in liquidation, from advising customers on pension transfers and pension opt-outs and ordered them to pay a combined £155,606 to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. 
The FCA found that between June 2015 and December 2017, Mr Dickinson provided unsuitable pension transfer advice, which Mr Allen signed off.   
The advice was unsuitable “because it was based on the flawed assumption that transferring would be in their customer’s best interest. The advice provided did not assess whether customers were relying on income from their defined benefit pension scheme in retirement, whether the customer understood the risks of transferring out or whether they could bear those financial risks,” the regulator said. 
Therese Chambers, joint executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said people, including former members of the British Steel Pension Scheme, turned to Mansion Park to give them advice so they could have financial peace of mind in retirement. 
“Both Mr Dickinson and Mr Allen failed to do their job. They put people’s hard-earned retirement money at risk and so it is only right that they contribute to the costs of compensating these people,” Chambers said. "We will continue to take action where failings by advisers put their customers at risk.” 
Mr Dickinson and Mr Allen have been ordered to pay £70,000 and £85,606, respectively, to the FSCS to contribute towards compensation owed to their former customers. Mansion Park customers have so far received almost £3m from the FSCS. Most of this, £2m, was for advice provided by Mr Dickinson.  
Mr Dickinson advised 135 of 400 customers who were advised to transfer out of their defined benefit scheme, including 68 BSPS members. His customers had benefits worth about £36.8m. 
The FCA said that Mr Allen, who signed off, “demonstrated a lack of competence in his oversight of advice for 328 (82%) of those 400 Mansion Park customers”, including 72 who were BSPS members and in a vulnerable position as the future of their pension scheme was uncertain.  
The latest news follows a spate of fines and bans this year by the FCA issued against financial advisers that recommended to BSPS members to transfer out of the DB scheme. Last year, the watchdog used emergency powers to stop financial firms that advised BSPS members from moving their assets to avoid paying compensation as part of a redress scheme. 

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