"Both advisers knew, or should have known, that what they were doing lacked integrity and betrayed the high standards expected by the FCA."
The FCA has banned two directors from performing any regulated activity after they submitted false and misleading information about customers’ high net worth status.
Peter Howson and John Butterfield, who were both directors of the now-liquidated Vanguard Wealth Management Limited, submitted the information to self-invested personal pension (SIPP) provider, James Hay, which had no knowledge of their actions.
Vanguard Wealth Management Limited has no connection to the Vanguard Group.
The FCA found that Howson dishonestly deceived James Hay about the high net worth status of six customers by submitting fabricated information, including fabricating figures for fictitious properties.
Howson also dishonestly submitted 27 high net worth declarations in which he falsely claimed to have seen evidence of the customers’ net worth.
In addition, he dishonestly submitted false information relating to his own financial circumstances to the SIPP provider when submitting his own applications.
Butterfield submitted 48 high net worth declarations in which he falsely claimed he had seen evidence of the customers’ net worth.
The FCA says both knowingly and repeatedly made these false declarations, and thereby increased the number of Vanguard customers who purchased Elysian Fuels PLC shares through their James Hay SIPPs. This generated substantial fees and commissions from which Howson and Butterfield benefitted. As a result of the pair's actions, customers lost money.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "Both advisers knew, or should have known, that what they were doing lacked integrity and betrayed the high standards expected by the FCA. They have no place in the financial services industry."