Network boss’s second fine in seven years upheld in court

An IFA network boss who has been fined by the regulator twice and banned from certain roles has failed in his bid to get his most recent judgment overturned.

Charles Palmer, former CEO of Financial Limited and Investments Limited, will still be subject to a ban on performing significant influence functions and a £86,691 fine, following the decision in the High Court this week.

Palmer was the majority shareholder and CEO of Standard Financial Group, and a director and de facto CEO of the adviser network, which was comprised of Financial Limited and Investments Limited.  The network operated nationally and, at its peak, in March 2011, consisted of 397 appointed representatives and 516 registered individuals.

Between 24 February 2010 and 20 December 2012, the Firms’ ARs and RIs collectively provided advice to approximately 40,000 customers.

The tribunal agreed with the FCA that Mr Palmer failed to act with due skill, care and diligence in carrying out his role of director and as de facto CEO of the Firms.

The Tribunal also agreed with the FCA that Mr Palmer’s failings were particularly serious in the light of findings made against him by the FCA’s predecessor, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in a Final Notice of 24 February 2010, when he was fined £49,000 for management failings resulting in poor compliance monitoring on pension switching advice. Palmer was also censured for failing to respond adequately to the failings found in that 2010 notice.

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.”