Ban for adviser who was ‘out of his depth’

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THE City watchdog has banned and censured a North Yorkshire financial adviser for “a how-not-to guide” of running a self-invested personal pension operator.

The Financial Conduct Authority stopped short of fining Kevin Wells, the managing director of Montpelier Pension Administration Services, because it would cause serious financial hardship.

The FCA slammed Mr Wells for failing to understand regulated activities and responsibilities as he led a rapid expansion of the business without identifying or mitigating any risks for his customers.

He exposed customers and the business to “a significant level of risk” and failed to understand capital and compliance needs so provision for both was lacking, said the regulator.

Tracey McDermott, director of the enforcement and financial crime division at the FCA, said: “Wells’ tenure as managing director should be seen as a ‘how-not-to’ guide of running a SIPP operator – he was out of his depth.

“I would recommend that anybody operating, or thinking of operating, a SIPP reads the final notice in detail; it covers almost all aspects of SIPP operation and is a good indicator of the standards we expect. Were it not for his financial circumstances, we would have imposed a significant financial penalty, but even without it, he has paid a heavy price.”

Bristol-based financial services firm Curtis Banks acquired Montpelier Pension Administration Services in 2011. A spokesman said Mr Wells is no longer at the business.